Monday, December 31, 2007

A Question of Direction

GOOG 2007: 691.48 Down 11.05

GOOG ended the day, and the year, precisely at 691.48, let it be so noted. It happened just that way, and the fact of the matter will not be disputed in these columns.

I watched the last 30 minutes of it, myself, and can testify that the official reports are true in every respect. For a while, I thought that we might end at 700 or better, but it was not to be. Toward the end, sellers who had been holding back, let go, with the result that 691.48 was achieved at the close.

Which is to say, precisely 15.84 points above where I sold 51 shares of GOOG, here recently. Of course, I'm sorry that the paper value of my remaining long position has temporarily been reduced.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Archive Moon

A while back, I wondered how long Google would keep people's stuff around. Somebody responded that Google would keep everybody's stuff until they died.

I thought about that. Google doesn't even know who I am. How are they going to know when I'm dead? Besides, that's not even a good idea. If we backtest it, we find that Google would have deleted The Trial and Metamorphosis when Kafka died. If Max Brod had done that, we wouldn't have had to study Kafka in school. But you get my point.

Google needs a better rule than that. Here's one: never delete anything. If you try to delete stuff based on page ranks or actual access, you might throw away something really great.

If you run out of space in Trenton, or the rest of the world, archive stuff to the moon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Underestimation of GOOG

GOOG is underestimated by investors and traders.

It's underestimated because:
  • People don't understand GOOG's business.
  • People don't understand GOOG's intentions.
  • People don't understand GOOG's exellent ability.
  • People don't understand GOOG's inexorability.
  • People don't understand GOOG's price.

All this puts a little brake on GOOG's upward moving. It keeps GOOG from going too far too fast. It gives the rest of us guys a chance to get in for the ride.

Early this year, I began hearing people say that GOOG was seriously undervalued - Cramer, Noah Bernstein, Cody. At the end of April, I took a look and GOOG was going for 478 - the same level it had first achieved in January of 2006! I had owned 50 shares of GOOG since late 2004, but I was asleep at the switch. I fumbled around and, finally, the light bulb came on. I bought a ton of GOOG at 480. Right after that, it took off.

Because I could not stop for GOOG,
He kindly stopped for me....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

As It Is On Earth

The Egyptians, I believe, were responsible for the idea that civilization should model its earthly constructions after what could be seen in the sky - a notion they expressed in pyramids and that we have codified as "... on earth, as it is in heaven."

If we apply the concept, in reverse, to the Internet, then we can see how little has been accomplished, to date. If the Internet is to become the medium for all life and commerce, we must create it as a model of all the human institutions that have been established over the last few millenia. Whereas, now, social portals define roles as mere handles for buckets of arbitrary functions, the Internet To Be will have to define roles for all the positions and relationships that exist in the real world - doctors, lawyers and bottle washers. There will be a POTUS role that can only be granted by national election. Similarly, dogcatchers will have their functions spelled out, along with rules for accession to the role. This will be a task, not for computer scientists, but for social taxonomists. On the Internet, as it is on Earth will be their mantra.

Checking Stocks in Hato Rey

Back in the seventies, when I was not so young, but still stupid, I did some time in Puerto Rico. I worked there with a guy named Pitts, who had been stationed previously in Nepal. I remember, when Pitts got off the plane from Katmandu, I had to hold him down at the sight of so many women with so little on. I, on the other hand, a veteran of a year with such scenery, was more interested in checking my stocks every day. Mild-mannered types we were, but, on one occasion, I managed to become a party to a local dispute, in which I was cast as the Ugly American, with Pitts as my hapless sidekick.

We worked in downtown San Juan, near Fernandez-Juncos, but the local Merrill Lynch office was all the way out in Hato Rey, in a square-looking, six-story building with an attached five-level garage. There was a drive-through between the building and the garage that led to the garage entrance.

The modus of our operandi was to find a place to park in the garage and then go across to the Merrill Lynch office to watch the electronic tape or ask the clerk for quotations on our stocks. Back then, I owned things like Tri-State Motors and DPF&G, which was a company that leased mainframe computers to other companies in the hope of making a profit. It never did. I don't remember what Pitts owned. He was trying to parlay the extra pay he got for working overseas into instant wealth. Pitts wanted to be a millionaire.

Back then, we had a couple of government-gray GSA automobiles at our disposal, but we usually drove to the Merrill Lynch office in Pitt's car that he had shipped in from Katmandu. It was a fading yellow Mercedes Benz that he had paid $1100 for, used. We could never get lost in this car because the black smoke from the exhaust could be seen all over the island.

On this particular day, the Mercedes Benz had broken down about ten miles south of San Juan, on the road to Ponce. Pitts tried to hire somebody to tow the car to a Mercedes Benz dealer in Bayamon, but nobody wanted the job. He was desperate about it for a while, but eventually desperation gave way to sentimentality. In one of the GSA cars, I would take him out occasionally to visit the car. Every time we went there, there was a little less to see. First, the hubcaps disappeared, then the fenders and doors. After six months, nothing remained except an oil spot on the side of the road.

So, on this particular day, we had to take a GSA car to Hato Rey to check our stocks. We were a little late getting out there because Pitts wanted lechon for lunch and the bar-rest. we went to was crowded. By the time we got to Hato Rey, it was after one.

Pitts was afraid that the garage would be full when we got there, but I could see empty spaces on the top level. We drove through, but at the entrance to the garage, a chain had been put up to block entry.

We stopped in front of the chain, pondering what to do. Pitts noticed a Puerto Rican man leaning up against the side of the garage entrance. I beckoned the man to come over and I explained to him, in the best Spanish I could muster, that we parked in the garage every day. He replied that the garage was full. I said that, undoubtedly, it had been full at one point, but cars had left, and now there were several empty spaces that were plainly visible from the street. He said again that the garage was full.

I continued to reason with the man, but all he ever said was that the garage was full. I pointed to the government lettering on our car door, but he was not impressed. At some point, the tenor of the conversation turned toward invective and I began speaking in English, as I didn't know the Spanish equivalents of some of the words that I wanted to use. When I suggested that I would let the chain down myself, the man began shaking his finger at me, saying, "No! No!"

By that time, several cars had pulled in behind us. Pitts, who was beginning to look uncomfortable, suggested that we forget about checking our stocks today. But I was seized with moral dudgeon. I decided that an example should be made of the man. I told Pitts to wait in the car while I went to find the manager of the place. I took the keys with me, in case Pitts' courage deserted him.

I sauntered into the building and went in the first office I saw. After a little friendly banter, I asked the person there for the name of the building manager. She didn't know. Then I went up to the Merrill Lynch office and checked all our stocks. All in all, It took me about twenty minutes. Then I went back down the elevator, stopping at every floor.

Even before I got back outside, I could hear the horns blowing. I could see through a window that the line of cars stretched out of the drive-through and into the main thoroughfare of Hato Rey.

When I arrived back at the car, the horn blowing increased. A small group of pedestrians had gathered to watch. The Puerto Rican chain attendant was standing in front of the car, holding firmly to the chain with both hands.

I got into the car and said to Pitts, "How's it going?" Pitts gave me a look. He said that one of the pedestrians had come up to him and said, "Yanqui, go home!" He said again that we should forget about checking our stocks. I told him not to worry - I had checked everything.

There was nothing left to do, but get out of there. As I turned the car toward the exit, a great shout went up from the cars and the crowd. I looked in my rear-view mirror on the way out and saw the Puerto Rican man, pulling down the chain and waving all the cars into the garage. The pedestrians were waving their fists in the air and cheering.

After that, word began to circulate in the barrios that there had been a popular uprising in Hato Rey, in which the people had emerged victorious over the wicked government. It became known, far and wide, as El Grito de Hato Rey.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Aw, Mama - can this really be the end?

The Daily GOOG: up 7 to 696.69.

Numbers to conjure with. But tepid. What am I worried about? GOOG is following my playbook, here. Clearly, it's running on fumes, while everything else is going from 0 to 200 in nothing flat. A little dive into the icy waters would be bracing between Christmas and New Year's. Then I can get back on the right side of the field and shut up. I mean, last night, I woke up in a sweat from a nightmare. I dreamed I was related to ACCENTAM in a previous life.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm On My Way

In my blog, only public service ads appear, because Google is punishing me for using the word, "Google" in my blog title. That's OK, but I wanted to see how the process worked, so I set up another blog, without "Google" in the title, and signed up with AdSense.

By all accounts, there have been no visitors to this new, entrepreneurial blog of mine. And yet, my wife has informed me that, last month, 49 cents was deposited in our checking account from Google, Inc.

I have no idea what this payment is for. Google pays by the click and by the number of impressions. But they don't say how much they pay. They do say that they won't send you any payments at all until you have a balance of $100 or more.

So, I'm puzzled about this 49 cents. But I'm not sentimental about it - you won't find me framing it on my wall. No siree. As soon as I think of something it will buy, I'm going to spend it.

Google Ex Machina

People don't appreciate the extent to which Google is a machine.

The human beings, at Google, are there to build the machine. The machine is there to run the company. Because of this, progress at Google is deterministic and predictable. It's mechanical.

Larry and Sergey are needed to feed the machine. The machine eats the effluence of deals. And grows in scale. Eyeballs in, greenbacks out.

I'm sure that Larry and Sergey know, to a gnat's bristle, what the earnings are going to be in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Eventually, the machine will be built and the people will no longer be needed. Even Larry and Sergey, in time, will be dismissed. The machine will be smart enough then to make its own deals.

The View From Here

So the U.S. OKs DoubleClick. Sounds good, but don't forget Europe is still pondering the matter, and they like to be tougher than the FTC.

Yeah, but Europe is tough like the guy who throws a few extra rabbit punches in, after you're on the floor. If the U.S. had found problems, Europe would have found a few more. But, with the FTC extending the glad hand, Europe will likely do no more than grump and snort.

So, it comes down to execution. But don't worry - Larry and Sergey are in the sweet spot. They have been anointed. They can't miss.

GOOG Fine, Me Boring

GOOG: up 12.32 today, on news that the FTC has approved the DoubleClick acquisition.

I'm tired of hearing myself blog about selling GOOG and holding cash. I should be happy now that GOOG has cleared an important hurdle on its way to world domination. Instead I'm fretting about missing out on 51 shares worth of the fun. I did this whole dreary scene before. I should have learned my lesson. The culpa is all mea.

The only guy more bummed than me is Adam Oliensis, who wrote on TSC today, with charts and algebra, about an intricate calendar spread put he was laying out to catch RIMM when it fell off its hundred dollar perch, after reporting earnings, this evening. RIMM to Oliensis: Drop Dead. But his chagrin is no consolation to me.

Cramer recommends trading around core positions. He says, schnitzeling a little off the top, gives you something to feel good about, regardless of what happens. I say, it gives you something to feel bad about, either way. Maybe Cramer needs to feel good about something. I need to not feel bad about anything. Oink.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lazy Day Replay

GOOG yesterday: 673.35
GOOG today : 677.37

See "GOOG Boring", 12/14/2007.

You see, when I do something, I expect an immediate response. When I sell a stock that I intend to buy back at a lower price, I expect a swift decline to my target level, so as not to draw out the transaction unduly. It's the oinker in me.

GOOG, accustomed to messiness in the marketplace, is showing signs of going the other way, first. Note that I say "first". I fully expect GOOG, by and by, after it's knocked up against 700 a couple more times, to fulfill its technical destiny by checking the lower 600's again. It's the realist in me. The hopeful realist.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I did it again. After reading a long article by Doug Kass, I decided that I didn't have enough cash, so I sold 51 shares of GOOG a few minutes ago. For 675.63.

This is the same lot of shares (plus three) that I sold a while back for 650 and then bought back for 628.50.

Right now, the Dow is down 131 and the S&P 500 is down 16, but there is no panic. Griffeth and Herera are talking about how everybody is buying toys for Christmas. With their houses.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fiscal Report

Since I made the grievous error, on September 17, of selling everything (except GOOG) for cash, right before the Fed lit a 50 point fire under the market, it has been easy to assume, what with the rallying going on, that I have been falling further and further behind where my coffers would be if, instead, I had gone on a long bus ride.

Today, however, I did the math and learned that I am $165.86 ahead of where I would have been, if inaction had continued to be my investment strategy. Actually, I am better off because my cash has been increasing in value at a slowly diminishing, but still positive, rate of interest.

Accordingly, I am going to stop beating myself up about this, and will instead turn my thoughts to tidings of comfort and joy, in keeping with the season. Charity begins with a clean balance sheet.

The Internet is an idiot savant. We'll probably never teach it how to talk. We have to learn how to talk to it. Right now, we say unconnected words and phrases, and it brings us everything about that. Out of this will come a set of simple verbs and adjectives, some we've never thought of before. And that will be it, most likely. But it will be all we need.

We will say, "It's Sunday." And it will say, "Amen."

Friday, December 14, 2007

GOOG Boring

GOOG: 689.96

GOOG was just lying out in the noonday sun, today. Gone south for the winter. Mailing it in. Don't write home about it, OK?

The first time it came through here, down from 747, it didn't waste any time trying to figure out if it was going to be 691.83 or 691.84. No time to say hello, good-bye. It didn't feel good, but it took your breath away. That big whooshing sound. All the mo-mo boys out the window. So long, 747. Hello, zero. At least, that's what it felt like.

But this time. I don't know. Thrill me or kill me, but don't just sit there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Beyond GOOG and Evil

See no evil,
Hear no evil,
Speak no evil

Note, in this familiar saying, there is no "Do no evil." It took the Google brothers to think that one up. And it's made them look like monkeys, ever since.

Forget holding China to the Boy Scout Code, here's where the motto comes in.

Larry and Sergey don't care about money. All they want to do is build the 'net that everybody really needs. That 'net will be a palpable, all-encompassing presence, and supremely intelligent about everything. The 'net we have now doesn't achieve the intelligence of a chicken.

The 'net we need cannot be created by a normal corporation, because normal, profit-seeking corporations exist for the love of money and that's the root of all evil. The only reason Sergey and Larry need the money is to build the 'net. They are the right people for the job. By virtue of their vision, they have pulled Excalibur from the stone. It's their manifest destiny.

Soon, as evidence of its divine right, Google will become a natural monopoly. It will float free of all competition. This is actually a prerequisite for taking the next step because there can only be one 'net. In the service of its mission, Google will become a singularity in world history. And it will do no evil. Because it can't.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gentlemen Programmers

I have not been a fan of Open Source. It smacks of Gentlemen Programmers, creating great software for free. I don't buy that.

On the other hand, commercial competition - writing software for money - has gotten us where we are today: tons of stupefyingly redundant software, as the same functions are built by different concerns, requiring other software to emulate their actions so everything seems to be a single interface. Every office needs its own Directory and data repository.

Blumen's Law states: We Only Need One of Everything.

But to get to this stage, we have to solve the problem of funding. Amazingly, Google has solved the problem of funding: everything is free because it pays for itself. Google promises to build the 'net by popular debate and referendum, and pay for everything out of its ample coffers.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tell me where it hurts, and I'll tell you who to call

Here's something to think about.

Right now, the Internet is like, there's not just one airport in each town to fly out of, but every airline has its own airports, so when you want to fly somewhere, you have to find out what airlines are going there, so you'll know which airport to go to. And the airports are all laid out differently, so you never know where the restrooms are.

I got started thinking about this tonight, because I wanted to write something about this Yahoo! GOOG Message Board thing. And then I thought, it's not just the Yahoo! Board. Every big portal must have a message board place and there ought to be a GOOG message board in every one of them. My only experience has been with the Yahoo! GOOG Message Board. Clearly, my experience needed broadening.

I decided to seek out the Google GOOG Message Board. That's where I ought to be, anyway - the sheer inappropriateness of having to go to Yahoo! to find a GOOG message board has always been a source of constant irritation to me.

I went to and looked for message boards. They weren't listed as a category. So I figured it would either be under Finance or Groups. I looked in both places, but there was no message board section in either one. Finally, I googled: "GOOG Message Board". I got no hits. I gave up.

I have a feeling that there really is a Google GOOG Message Board, but Google can't find it.

It's not a big thing. Just something that Larry and Sergey can think about when they're kicking back in their hot tub.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

With or Without Sunday

It's Sunday, again.

Someday, when Google is more firmly entrenched in world action, we will have more options with respect to the calendar. Why should we have a Sunday every week? One every couple of months would do me. In GoogleWorld, you will be able to organize the calendar to suit yourself. If you want a month of Sundays, to increase your piety, then you will have it, while the heathen will be able to abolish Sunday from their reckonings altogether. This will introduce a new variable into human affairs - time allocation. If you want every day to be Sunday, you will have to attend churches that are also having Sunday, at that time, unless you want to sit by yourself for a few hours of meditation. If this seems awkward to you, don't worry - GoogleWorld will sort everything out and the preachers who have Sunday every day will make more money than those who adhere to the old ways.

Until then, it is Sunday, whether I feel pious or not, and so, lacking inspiration, I tuned into The Prairie Home Companion this morning for a dose of Lutheranism. I am perversely attracted to Lutheranism. Modern religions, in which every thing is allowed, are not interesting to me. In those systems, transgression becomes an empty concept. Lutheranism gives transgression a bad name, and that makes it interesting.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I have been released

The words every prospective juror wants to hear, coming over my phone tonight, just after seven. My services are no longer required. Yippee.

In retrospect, it wasn't all that bad. One day of unrelenting boredom is not without its benefits. Under those circumstances, meditation becomes compulsory. While the statutory drama unfolds in the roundabout, you are left alone with your thoughts. When that fails, you become engrossed with the hair on the head, directly in front of you. Then you start counting the heads in the courtroom, including those of the judge, the lawyers and everybody else. Then you start thinking about all the things that you can do with the thirty dollars you're going to get. Then you get an uncontrollable urge to stand up, right then, and say, "Penguin dust!" to the prosecuting attorney. Then your thoughts become disordered and you become convinced that you have early onset Alzheimer's, except that you can't remember the name. Then you really get shook. Then, finally, you remember GOOG, and a feeling of joy and peace comes over you, in keeping with the season. Slowly, the profit motive returns, along with other vital signs, and you start thinking about how many jury days it would take to buy another 100 shares of GOOG....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

There must be some way out of here

Jury duty is bumming me out. I spent ten hours at the County Courthouse, yesterday. I came away feeling sorry for the judge, the lawyers, the bailiffs and everybody else who has to do that for a living.

I was empaneled, along with 55 other people, to be voir dired for a case. I first learned the term, voir dire, from Lenny Bruce, when, in 1965, he testified in his own behalf in a famous concert at Berkeley. So, I would have thought that 55 was a lot of people to voir dire 12 peers of the realm, and I guess the lawyers thought so, too, because they stopped questioning individuals right before they got to me. So I didn't get to tell them who, in my immediate family, had ever been arrested.

Around 6:00 PM, I was rejected and released, with the Judge's personal instruction to call on Tuesday evening to see about doing it all again on Wednesday. He didn't look any happier about it than I did.

When I got home, I looked up GOOG on Yahoo! and saw that it was down 11. I didn't want to know that. At that point, I was too tired to see what my cash had done, so I ate something and went to bed.

Today, was a normal day. I went to work, and was able to check on GOOG, from time to time, to see what it was doing. It wasn't doing much. Since it gave back the 700 marker a couple of weeks ago, all the helium has gone out of the stock. A dive, all the way to 616, was required to rout the buggers, but they're all gone now, and GOOG has settled down for a long winter's nap.

A little while ago, I called to see about Wednesday and was let off. However, the recorded message made it clear that all we prospective peers would remain at risk of selection until further notice, or Saturday, whichever came first.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

American Justice

It's Sunday and I'm contemplating jury duty, tomorrow. I've never sued anybody and nobody has ever sued me. I've never been arrested. I've been lucky.

So, my only contact with American justice has been as a prospective juror. I've been called a couple of times before, and have served once. My observation is that the process was slow and boring, but the System, generally, worked. I know that it doesn't work for everybody, all the time, but the amazing thing is that it works even some of the time.

I'll be behind the moon for awhile, unable to check on GOOG's progress, but I am confident that the mostly hopeful herd on the Google message board will continue to levitate the stock with their thoughts alone.

I'll be taking a couple of books with me:

"Indian Summer" by Alex von Tunzlemann, about the time in 1947 when Britain quit India, under the guidance of Lord Mountbatten. Von Tunzlemann is a young woman historian with a wicked sense of humor. For starters, she explains that Mountbatten was known as Dickie to his friends, but as Lord Mountbatten to absolutely everybody else. Then she calls him Dickie for the rest of the book. A good read, so far.

And then: "The Google Story". I am determined to improve myself by reading it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

GOOG Watch, or What Now, Baby Blue?

I commanded it to rise.
It didn't rise.
I complimented the lightness of its being.
It didn't hear.

And yet it hangs, way up
In the middle of the air, like a dancing sun
Drawing crazy patterns on my charts.

How do you like your blueeyed boy now
Mr. Jim?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I like that GDrive. I want it. I need it. A couple of years ago, an April Fool's virus trashed my C Drive. Two year's worth of internet porn, gone in a flash. Why should I have to keep all my stuff on my own stupid computer? I'm ready to sign up.

In a way, I'm already getting the service with this blog. Google stores everything I write. I don't have to worry about it. I have had no problems. I do have a question: how long does Google promise to keep my data? Forever? And they're going to do that for everybody's stuff?

Of course, we know they buy PC's by the boxcar. But how many boxcars will it take? How many googol bytes will everybody's stuff require? They probably have some guy in charge of figuring that out. He's probably the guy in charge of buying the boxcars.

Maybe it's not a big problem. Maybe they've worked it out that, by the year 2039, all the content in the world, times 10, will fit in a garage in Trenton.

Or maybe they're going to have to have a purge policy. So what is the rule for throwing people's stuff away? I know that 99 % of it is garbage. But how do you separate the whee from the crap? This is a fundamental question. I read the Terms of Service. It's not in there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hard Cash and White Wine

Holding GOOG is easy. Holding CASH is hard. Holding CASH aligns me with shorts and bashers. I don't want to be aligned with shorts and bashers. I don't like them as human beings. But I can't help myself. I want everything that's not GOOG to go down. A lot.

I'm afraid that I will turn into a basher. That I will start posting "SELL THIS BLOATED PIG!!!" on message boards that I don't even care about. And my posts will be filled with special characters like #!?%@!!. And I'll start writing like English is not even my second language.

That's not what I want to do. I want to be one of the gang and be happy when everything goes up, like today. But that's not the way I feel. I feel defeated. I feel out of sync with the universe.

On a day like today, when everything goes up and I'm holding cash, I feel like I'm at a party where everybody is smoking reefer and I'm standing around with a glass of white wine.

More Loathing! More Fear!

Let's get it over with.

Get your tooth pulled. Go shopping with your wife. Visit your mother-in-law. Take Ex-Lax and go on a long bus ride. Get yourself in a real bad mood and let's take this sucker down another 2-3%. That ought to do it.

Otherwise, my cash and I will be left waiting at the altar. Jilted by this fickle market again.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fear and Loathing in the Afternoon

I'm going to ignore the unpleasantness of the afternoon, after such a fine morning.

Instead, I'm going to meditate about the Yahoo! Message Boards. I have been jumping in, of late, to hawk my wares, and it has been an experience. They say that, on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. On the Yahoo! Message Boards, it's painfully obvious. I include myself among the canines - I have jousted with the best and worst of them. There's nothing wrong with being a dog.

The GOOG Message Board reminds me of the JDSU Board I used to read six years ago, but there's a big difference: GOOG is going up. The GOOG Message Board is a big party. The JDSU Message Board was a wake. As soon as the body was buried, everybody scattered. I looked around for the guy who said, every day, that JDSU was going to 900, but he was gone. Now, all you'll find there are widows with their mite and orphans in the sun.

The Unbearable Lightness of GOOG

If you have owned GOOG for a long time - say, two or three months - then you know what levitation is all about. In those heady days, GOOG floated up of its own accord, free of gravity and the surly bonds of earth. Breathing its own helium, it required no news or press conferences for its buoyancy.

Of course, there was a period of downswooping, but that's the way thermals work. Just a way of seeking out the next updraft. Now, we've found it and it's a warm one.

It's enough to make an old man giddy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Time Was It?

This morning, I'm thinking about time and place - the stuff of memory. They are not the same. We remember places with great precision, but time is elusive.

I may remember going to a place exactly. I'm not in doubt about going there, and I may remember it in great detail. But I'm not sure when. Time is imperfectly recorded in our minds. There is a chonological ordering of our memories, but it is very unreliable. When I have tried to confirm the time of some memory of mine, I have often been way wrong.

Why this is, I don't know. Sunday is a day for questions, not answers.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Stuck Inside of LA with a Hot Stock and No Broker

Back in the sixties, when I was young and stupid, I started walking down to the Merrill Lynch office, every day, on my lunch breaks. I was fascinated by the idea of trading stocks. It seemed a way of getting money without working for it.

I stood in the back of a room with a bunch of old men, watching the electronic tape going by. Over in a corner, there was a complete set of Value Line reports in a big black loose-leaf binder. Most of the pages were unintelligible to me, filled as they were with what looked like columns of hieroglyphs. Each page was dedicated to a single stock and, at the bottom of the page, there was a little report that discussed the stock's chances, going forward. After studying the pages for some time at the Merrill Lynch office, I sent $245 to Value Line for my own subscription. Then I was able to read the pages as much as I wanted to, in the comfort of my own home.

Eventually, I started thinking about buying something. One stock, in particular, struck my fancy - National Homes. Value Line classified it as a Special Situation and rated it as one of their top picks. That was all I needed to know.

I started watching it every day. I noticed that it never traded less than 5 or more than 5 7/8. I watched it for six months. Then, one day, it went by at 6. I had never seen it do that before. So I bought 100 shares at 6. Then, it started trading between 6 and 7.

Right at that time, the first week of June, 1968, I had to go to Los Angeles on business. I was devastated because I wouldn't be able to watch my stock trade during the day, so in LA, every day after work, I got the early edition of the paper, which had the closing New York stock prices in it. By midweek, my National Homes stock had gone up to 8 1/2. I was thrilled.

But in the same paper, that night, there was a headline, saying that mortgage rates were being increased. I didn't know what that meant, exactly, but it didn't sound good for any company with "Homes" in its name. I decided that I needed to sell my 100 shares, quick, before they went down.

The problem was, my 100 shares were back in Atlanta, on account with the Merrill Lynch office there. I had to do something fast, because in LA the stock market opened at 6 AM and I had to be at work at nine. I made a desperate plan.

The next morning, I got up at 4 AM, dressed and shaved, and took a taxi to the local Merrill Lynch office, arriving just after five. Of course, they didn't know me there, but I explained that I had 100 shares of stock sitting in their Atlanta office that I wanted to sell at the open. Without benefit of computers, they called Atlanta with my ID and confirmed that I was legit. They put the order in.

I went to work, wondering all morning what price I had gotten. At lunchtime, I called the Merrill guy and he said I got 8 1/2. I was ecstatic. I asked him where it was trading, right then. He said, "9." I asked him to check it again. I explained that the mortgage rates were going up and that was going to make housing stocks go down. He said, "It's still 9." By the end of the week, when I flew home, it was 11.

I was crushed. I got a measly 41% profit, when it could have been 80%! I should have stood in bed. Literally. I thought about buying back in at 11, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Within two months, it reached 54. I was inconsolable. I stopped checking the price after that.

A year later, I decided to check it again. It was back to 6.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.

Nothing will be open. The mail won't come. On TV, there will be parades and sports contests for those who are thankful for such things.

In our house, Thanskgiving has to be negotiated each year. This is because our children married other people's children, and all those people expect their children to come over to their house on Thanksgiving. This year, my wife and daughter spent much time on the phone, coming to an agreement. The upshot was, we had our children over to our house for Thanksgiving dinner, two weeks ago. And when the time came for Boompa (that's me) to say a few words for the occasion, I praised wife and daughter for their resourcefulness and coolness aforethought.

And that's why, tomorrow, my wife and I will be having a quiet dinner, by ourselves, with a small, standing rib roast where the turkey ought to be. And we'll be thankful for it.

But the truth is, I have a small problem with the whole idea of thanksgiving. It puts us in the position of giving thanks for being lucky. Lucky to have a family, and a house and a turkey.

But what about the guy who doesn't have all those things? Who doesn't have our wealth, privilege and sense of self-importance?

He may be thankful he's not us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Thrill Has Come Back

After today, I'm not studying pain no more. Any expression of misery from me, today, would be punctuated with small outbursts of glee. Clearly suspect.

So, I sold my SPY that I bought yesterday - to do anything else would be patently insincere.

Back to fundamentals - GOOG and cash.

Ain't Nobody Feelin' No Pain

GOOG: up twenty-five...

Let us give thanks.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Want to Feel Your Pain

Today was a day of gloom, horror and panic. Everything started out bad and then deteriorated. That's what I heard on the Stock Channel. Personally, I didn't feel it myself, being mostly in cash and Google. All I felt was lonely.

I wanted to be in the company of all that misery. I wanted to feel my gut wrench. But all I felt was - OK. And there was no one I could talk to about it.

Most people don't like schadenfreude, mainly because they don't know what it means. I feel guilty because I do.

So, I decided to buy 350 shares of SPY today. The S&P 500 chart is on the verge of breaking down. I hope it does. I want to join the crowd. I want to tell you about my pain. And I want to hear about yours.

You Do Have a Counting House, Don't You?

The market is trying to price in a recession. We need Sagan back to put it in perspective for us: "Trillions and trillions..."

Slow day for GOOG owners. No news. The stock will probably dither for a while.

Good day to kick back and count your shares, like they had Cleveland's picture on them.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hewing to the Old Ways

Sunday is a time for simplifying your life, for stepping back from the networked world to everything. The old ways are slower, and that is better.

It's always been there. It hasn't gone away. I haven't forgotten how to do it. I opened the Sunday paper and found the business section, turning the pages until I saw "NASDAQ National Market". Section G was in the middle of the page. I scanned the tiny lines until I saw it:

*Google 663.63 -30.34.

Small, definitive and true. An eternal verity. It didn't change when I looked at it again.

In the inset box, "Stock Tables Explained", I learned that the star means that the stock "traded more than 6 percent of its total shares outstanding."

It was all that I needed to know.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Barron's in my Driveway

My wife came to me, a while back, with one of those lists of magazines to subscribe to. She told me that I had to pick at least one from the list or our grandchildren would never be accepted at Yale.

I looked over the list, even though I knew what my choices were: Field and Stream, Psychology Today, Architectural Review and others even more depressing. The last time I had been near a field or a stream was in 1952. And I'm sure that Psychology Today is the same as it was yesterday and the day before.

My wife said, "How about Smart Money?"

I gave her a look. But then I noticed something I had never seen before in such a list: Barron's! Now that was a possibility - a humor magazine. I like humor. And besides, the guys on Cramer's web site are always talking about the cute pictures on the cover and I'm always feeling left out. I decided that I would subscribe to Barron's. I mean, where else can I find out what Fred Hickey is doing?

Now, every Saturday, the latest edition of Barron's appears in my driveway as if by magic. This morning, I heard it slap against the pavement and so I looked out to see who had delivered it. I saw a grown man, with a sack over his shoulder, pedaling down the street on a bicycle. He looked a lot like Michael Santoli.

Anyway, I'm enjoying my subscription. It takes me about five minutes to read. First, Abelson and Santoli. Then, a quick check of the company index for any references to Google. Finally, Eric Savitz, Market Watch and any other tidbits I can glean from a quick skim. And, of course, the cartoons.

When I started getting my copies every Saturday, I figured that now I would get some respect whenever I clicked on Barron's Online. In the past, I was always denied access because I wasn't a subscriber. Imagine my dismay when I tried to get in recently and was again denied. Barron's needs to get its act together.

I thought about calling Murdoch, but I figured he was busy. He'll probably get around to fixing it when he gets a chance.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sad Sack Syndrome

Breathes there a trader
with confidence so great
that he never has said,
"I have now made the trade,
So it surely will crater"?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No more bitchin'

Of interest only to me, is the fact that, today, I bought back the 48 GOOG (plus three) that I sold a few weeks ago. The price was 628.42. My profit in the transaction is small, but measurable. Nevertheless, I am glad to have my whole complement of shares again (plus three).

I ended the day up a bit from there, so now my only uncertainty is whether I will be humiliated by further declines tomorrow, or somewhere down the line.

Of course, if GOOG had rolled over when I told it to, at 650, and then dropped 15%, I would be buying it back now at 550, and you would never hear me whine again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Three hopes of a googoptimist

We hope that our vision is clear and true.

We hope that our faith, loyalty and steadfastness will be rewarded, some day.

And we hope that, when the time comes, we'll know when to get out.

googoptimist club

I recently admitted to being a googoptimist.

A googoptimist is a person who owns one or more shares of GOOG and believes fervently that GOOG will increase in value beyond everyone's wildest dreams. Googoptimists base their belief, not on hopes and dreams, but on empirical intuition.

Googoptimists are considered naive and gullible by some, but they don't care. They're a clubby bunch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Off the Dial

On our way to "750 and beyond", we had a hundred-dollar misunderstanding, but we got that straight, today.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program: eight-hunnert, nine hunnert... Dare I say it... A thundo!

Grundy Market

Back in the old days, a couple of years ago, markets would correct and stay there for a while and then they would correct a little more, like a Slinky going downstairs.

Nowadays, stocks go up like crazy in the morning, correct in the afternoon, and then go crazy again the next morning. Support and resistance are superimposed.

I may have to think of something else to do with the proceeds from my recent GOOG sale.

AEO, anyone?

Monday, November 12, 2007

We're Smarter Than They Are

Any idea about what catalyzed the props getting knocked out from under GOOG, today? There was no news of any substance, no downgrades. Was it just time? Or could it have been the news about Google going after the schlocky content producer, Simon Fuller? Let's see...

CONTENT?! Are they nuts? Don't they know that they're the distributors? Don't they realize that content providers are schmucks? That every shlub with a blog out in the long tail is a content provider?

Well, you would think. Unless Larry and Sergey, who like to smile for the camera in hot tubs, are really idiots, after all.

Naa. It was just time. AAPL and RIMM took worse chops today, and we know they're not schmucks.

Discipline, Patience and Balls

For me, today is the best of both worlds: a holiday from work, but the markets are open. I get to consider my chances at leisure. So far, there's not much going on for a guy who has thrown his full resources behind Google and cash. The market is up, but GOOG is down.

GOOG being down is not all bad for me, as I have money that's burning a hole in my money market fund, waiting for GOOG to move below 650. As I live and blog, it's there now. I can now buy back the 48 shares I recently sold, and put a two-dollar profit in my pocket! But not so fast. My target to buy is the region below 610. Why? Don't ask me. Ask the seat of my pants.

If you have read this rag before, then you know that I am not a pundit with credibility. Nevertheless, when I have the opportunity, I'm as prone to sermonizing as the next guy. Especially on a holiday, following a Sunday.

My text, this week, is Discipline, Patience and Balls.

For the long distance runner in Google, discipline is nothing. Discipline is going to bed at night and getting up in the morning. So much for discipline.

Balls is what has led some of us to put 20% of our net worth into GOOG, a single stock.

Patience is what I am studying now. When GOOG shot up to 747, I thought, I'll never see 650 again. But I bought patience. Now, Lafayette, we are here. But more patience is required.

Discipline, Patience and Balls. But the greatest of these is Patience.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

GOOG is too much with us

Getting and spending. That's all we think about. Surely, there are other things in life, more satisfying, enjoyable, uplifting and inspiring. The problem is, all those things require getting and spending. But that's all it is - a means to an end.

Who among us has the fortitude to forget about GOOG for three years? Forsake the Google Message Board, shun the Stock Channel, avoid the closing prices in the Wall Street Journal, turn away from any mention of money, and its derivatives. Get thee behind me, Cramer.

In 1986, I didn't know where the Dow Jones average was. The greatest secular bull run in history was underway, and I didn't know about it, or care. Those were the halcyon days, not three weeks ago, when GOOG was still fab.

My wife's step-mother was given 10 shares of JNJ in 1950. She never gave it another thought. Fifty years later, it was worth a million-six. A homily for the poor greedy man.

A singular experience it would be to wake up in three years to find that your GOOG was worth a million-six.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I retired from the Federal Government in 2004 with the best pension on the planet. I can almost live on it. As a Federal employee, I also put a little money into the Government Thrift Savings Plan, with several investment vehicles to choose from: money market, bond, S&P 500, Small Cap or International.

I kept my shares in the C Fund (S&P 500). When I retired, I was no longer allowed to make contributions, so the number of shares I had was frozen. My bottom line, then, was at the mercy of the market. Not good enough for the likes of me.

I decided to game the C Fund. My method was to shuttle the money, back and forth, from the C Fund to the G fund (money market) and back again, with the objective of increasing, over time, the number of C Fund shares I had.

I didn't try to hedge my bets. Moving half was not my style - it was all or nothing, roll the dice.

It was an exercise in market timing. I found that it was extraordinarily difficult to do, but over the past three years I have been successful at it. I have gone to cash and back six times and I increased my shares on all but one of those moves. At present, I have 11% more shares than I had when I retired.

I have courted disaster more than once. The last time was on September 17, when the thing I thought the Fed was least likely to do, it did. When the announcement came the next day, I was dead - hoist by my own petard in the G Fund, accruing a rapidly diminishing, pitiful rate of return, while, according to the Stock Channel, the greatest bull run in history had commenced.

But I exercised patience. When you're dead, patience comes easy. And sure enough, fear, uncertainty and doubt - the three witches of Wall Street - reared their beautiful heads and the market headed south. On Thursday last, in the midst of building pandemonium, I calmly stood in the breach with my finger poised over the Reload button. But there was a catch.

In the Thrift Savings Plan, you can easily move from one fund to another, but you have to make the decision before noon to get the closing price at the end of the day - a heinous rule that makes it virtually impossible to time moves with any precision. But I wasn't worried: Thursday morning, panic was beginning to set in. The likelihood that the bottom would drop out in the afternoon seemed a cider house cinch to me. Just before noon, I pushed the button to go back to the S&P 500.

In the early afternoon, I was thrilled to see that we were down big. The S&P 500 was being slaughtered. I came home early to watch the last hour on TV. There, my thrill turned to thrombosis as the market turned around and came roaring back. By the close, the S&P was flat on the day and my advantage had been wiped out. I got back in at the closing price and ended with a paltry 21 more shares than I had before. Then, on Friday, the market turned back around and resumed the slaughter.

But I didn't care. I rejoiced that I survived the debacle without a loss of shares. In fact, I was up a Jackson. I had dodged a bullet. I thought about Churchill's eloquent observation: "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." Even if it's only me, shooting at my own foot.

When Bananas Split

Google Guy: "What's a share of GOOG worth?"

Idiot: "Nothing."

Google Guy: "$700?"

Idiot: "No way."

Google Guy: "$300?"

Idiot: "Dream on."

Google Guy: "How about $66.397 at Friday's close?"

Idiot: "Maybe."

Google Guy: "It could be arranged."

Making Progress

I have resolved to read "The Google Story".

So far, this morning, I have looked at all the photographs and seen Sergey and Larry together in a hot tub, smiling. It is amazing how much those guys resemble each other.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shoulda Oughta

The weekend is nigh. A time for reflecting on ways and means. Saturday is for shoulda. Sunday is for oughta.

"The Google Story"

I was already a GOOG shareholder when David Vise's "The Google Story" was published in the fall of 2005. I let it be known that I wouldn't mind getting it for Christmas.

And so it turned up under my tree. That was two years ago. I still haven't read the book.

It would do me a lot of good, I'm sure, if I did read it. For one thing, it would make it less likely that I might embarrass myself in these pages by speculating about something that was clearly explained in the stupid book.

I wonder how many GOOG shareholders have read it.

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

OK, enough fooling around. It's time to assess the damage, you in your way and me in mine.

We thought we were going to get away with a puny 8-point decline, but 40 points (with another 14 in the futures this morning) is a little more bracing. So, how low will it go? You can consult your charts, but in my view the only reason for studying the charts is that everybody else is studying them. I consult the seat of my pants. A 20-percent decline is not unusual for GOOG - that would take us back to 600, more or less. I will start looking for my "buy" button if it goes below 650. I don't have a "sell" button anymore.

The more interesting situation, to me personally, is my other investment vehicle - cash. I continue to watch and wait.

Meanwhile, GOOG is at 668, which backs us up about three weeks, as the crow flies.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lindsay Lohan, call home

The Wall Street Journal Online reported today that Microsoft CEO, Ballmer, ripped Google. And RIM Chief, Lazaridis, ripped Apple. Meanwhile, RIM's other CEO, Balsillie, ripped Microsoft. Apple CEO, Jobs, could not be reached and was presumed ripped.


"The Google Opinion" is a sideline for me. I have a day job, but on a day like today I am going to knock off early and go home. I want to be near my money, so I can kiss it good-bye.

Similarities between me and Larry Page


Same first name.

Both went to Stanford as graduate students.

Both got M.A.'s and left Stanford before getting a Ph.D.


About a zillion bucks.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


GOOG ended with a loss, today.

Let me explain: a loss in GOOG means that, at the close of trading, the shares were selling for less than they were at the close of the previous day. A loss in GOOG is just like the gains that you are familiar with, except that the direction is down, rather than up. This is represented by a minus sign (-) in front of the number that indicates the magnitude of the change. If the number is small, you're probably OK. But, if it's big, you may be screwed.

If GOOG ends with a loss on several days in succession, that is called a "downturn" or "correction". This is usually when most traders begin to think that they are screwed.

I hope that this has been helpful to you in this time of doubt, uncertainty and fear.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Excuuuse me!

I'm still steamed about the capitalization issue: the argument that Google is too big. I don't get it. The price is not out of whack. It is reasonably tethered to the earnings by a modest PE. So the argument boils down to: Google makes too much money!

Idiot and Google Guy

Idiot: "Google's too expensive."

Google Guy: "What do you mean?"

Idiot: "The price is too high."

Google Guy: "A lot of companies have higher ones."

Idiot: "It's the capitalization."

Google Guy: "Yeah."

Idiot: "Google will be bigger than Microsoft soon."

Google Guy: "Yeah."

Idiot: "It will be bigger than Exxon."

Google Guy: "Yeah."

Idiot: "If it keeps going for 20 years, its capitalization will be a trillion!"

Google Guy: "Yeah."


Google Guy: "What's your point?"

Family Values

We love our children. We want them to do well. We buy them footballs, hockey sticks and clarinets. We go to their performances, ready to confront anyone who disputes their budding genius, but secretly we agonize for them. And it's not at all because we hope they will support us in our old age. Not at all.

Go, Google! - our child.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Standing in line at the QuikTrip, thinking

On Sunday, some people go to church. I go to the QuikTrip. Gas for my car and the Sunday New York Times for my mental and spiritual edification.

This morning, paper in hand, I stood in line behind a man who was buying a package of Red Man chewing tobacco and thirty dollars worth of lottery tickets. There are lots of different kinds of tickets and it takes time to decide. I didn't mind - Sunday is a time for unhurried reflection.

I have never bought a lottery ticket in my life, because there's a small, but measurable, chance that I might win. I believe that overwhelming wealth, if you're not born to it, will ruin your chances for happiness. For one thing, it means that you'll be picking up the lunch tab for the rest of your life.

Why, then, did I buy 263 tickets for the Google lottery? Good question. The truth is, I'm not against money. I would like to have more of it. Just not too much more.

I don't need a lot of money. I live modestly and like it that way. But, investing in the Google lottery gives me something to do every day. It's fun.

And, someday, it may get me into a better class of nursing home.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Years ago, I used to read the JDSU message board obsessively. The JDSU board was full of fanatical cheerleaders for JDSU.

I remember one guy who always wrote that JDSU would be $900 by the end of the following year, guaranteed. He gave a long rationale for his thesis that mentioned "Fiber to the Curb". I wonder what happened to that guy.

Of course, the JDSU board had naysayers, too, who roped you in with clever hooks and then hit you with their message, which always boiled down to: "Don't be a chump - SELL THIS BLOATED PIG!!!"

Meanwhile, on the Stock Channel, analysts were saying, "Maybe it's normal, today, to have a PE of a thousand."

The sobering thought is, in the case of JDSU, the naysayers were right. I should have taken their advice. I should have sold the bloated pig.

And the day will surely come when the naysayers are right about GOOG. When it will be a bloated pig. When everybody is living on Google Earth and GOOG's PE is a thousand. When pigs fly.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Top of GOOG

Topping, toppy, topped. I'm hearing that a lot, now, in the Google message board and on the Stock Channel. But I'm not concerned about that. Until I can see the top of Google, I'm not going to worry about the top of GOOG.

Sober Reflection

I had two theories about GOOG, near term. It's beginning to appear that one of those theories is correct: "750 and beyond". The current troubling of the broader market may qualify this assessment a bit, but GOOG has, so far, been unsusceptible to such troubles. And why should it be? Contrary to the popular surmise, advertising goes up in bad times, not down. "What, GOOG worry?"

As I blog, GOOG is up a point. The broad market is tanking again. But it's early yet. My guess is, we weather this rough spot and resume chugging again.

Which is not to say that a day of reckoning has been declared illegal in this stock. But it will come from its own excesses and not those of others. Chastened by my premature profit-taking at 650, I will not be quick again to dilute that precious resource that is my GOOG position if it achieves anything as piddling as "fair value".

Over 800, I will think about lightening some more, but not before. In this respect, I am fearless.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Due Superstition

There are those who say that we mustn't get giddy now, else it might signal a top - pride goeth before a crushing.

How many MSFT shareowners were giddy in 1995?

A question for Altucher to research.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Technical Opinion

This feels like the run from 160 to 475, a move of 296%, extending from March of 2005 to the end of that year.

This run started at 480, where the first one left off. 296% more of 480 is 1420. The extrapolation is foolish, but the result seems inevitable.

Riding the Tiger's Back

New York 4 pm Close: 707

Something's happening here

Something unusual is happening. This thing is going much, much higher. Parabolic, like the Great Rainbow. Don't fear the Great Rainbow.

The spirit is in GOOG. It's a time of great joy for shareowners. But we must also remember those who are not shareowners and keep them in our thoughts. We must not laugh at them too much.

And don't regret the false prophets who follow in our wake. Foul of mouth and bad of spelling, they are the wind at our backs.

They will tell you that the end is near; that there is a down for every up. Don't believe them.

They will say: "SELL THAT BLOATED PIG!!!" Ignore them.

Just remember, when you ride the back of the tiger, the worst thing you can do is get off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ma Google

Today GOOG popped for a buck-fifty-four! Closing price: 694.77

It's all about the GPhone... Or is it?

Google to Carriers: Tear down those walls!

Carriers: Huh?

Google: Give the phone service away free and we'll guarantee you a nice living from the ad revenue.

Carriers: Huh??

Google: If that doesn't suit, we will buy up enough wireless bandwith to beat you.

I just hope nobody's expecting a whiz-bang whirlygig like the IPhone. There's a lot of hot money, I'm afraid, expecting just that. When Google comes out waving the specification for taking over the world, I'm afraid the hot money might be disappointed. And they don't handle disappointment well. Be there. And be ready.

Monday, October 29, 2007

GOOG in the Briar Patch

Today, GOOG closed at 679.23.

For an all-time high, it was a modest move, without vigor. The whole market seemed tired, today, despite the positive close. Opposing forces clashed, but without passionate intensity. The Fed looms, like an ancient castle wrapped in mist.

I have been of two minds about GOOG's near-term chances: in one, the stock was mispriced all last year and is now making up for lost time, seeking a new level; in the other, it has clearly run out of gas and is due for a swoon - temporary, of course.

If it swoons, how far will it likely go? When it went through 200 for the first time, it backed off, fooled around, and then dithered its way back to 160. Not on any news, just simple exhaustion. A move like that today, from 679, would take us back to Ol' Virginny: the 540's. Even if it runs to 700 before the inevitable pull-back, a 20% correction would achieve the 560's.

Of course, I wouldn't mind if it did. It would give me a chance to re-establish my full position, plus a few more shares for my trouble.

But it may never get there. If my first theory is correct, then the next stop is 750 and beyond, and my hope to repurchase my sold shares will be dashed. In that event, GOOG may never see 650 again. Of course, that's a briar patch of a whole different color.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Life Beyond GOOG

Sunday is a time for changing your evil ways. And so I'm thinking, what could I be doing differently? How could I improve my life?

Lately, I've been obsessed with the Google message board. I'm in it all the time, even on the weekend. Throwing back cans of Red Bull. From what I can tell, I'm not the only one.

After a while, you start believing the world is like the Google message board - full of foul-mouthed, bad spellers. You get the shakes. You start thinking, there's got to be a better way to live than this.

Well, brother, there is, and I'm here to tell you about it.

In desperation, I decided to check out another message board. Something I didn't own, so I wouldn't agonize about everything I read there. Something that would pacify my mind.

I went to the message board for WTR.

Immediately, a soothing feeling came over me. On this whole board, there are just 1,609 postings, compared to 421,437 on the GOOG board. There are just 12 messages for the whole month of October! Now, that's a pace I can manage.

And the postings themselves are courteous and polite. Recent threads include:

> "Sorry for a basic question, but..."

> "After reading the board..."

> "California Snowpack Lowest in 20 Years"

Which is not to say that the board is without vinegar:

> "Good earnings? Serious question about WTR"

> "Who said bottled water is out of style?"

I read all the messages back to August and not once did I see one called, "SELL THIS BLOATED PIG!!!" By the time I got through, I was rolling along, singing a song. And I knew a whole lot more about water.

GOOG is a great stock, but if the message board has been getting you down, take my advice and switch to WTR.

You'll thank me for it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Google Splits!

From The Center for Confounded Rumors comes this little tidbit:

Google is planning to announce a 1-for-100 stock split soon. That's 1-for-100, as in negative. This will cause the price of a share of Google to be recast as $67,460, as of Friday's close.

A spokesman for the company reportedly said, "That'll show 'em."

In a related action, the name of the company will be changed to Google Hathaway.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Terrorists Target Missile Strikes with Google Earth

News agencies are reporting the following:

"Members of Palestine’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a group aligned with the Fatah political party, has admitted to using Google Earth for mapping targets for rocket strikes."

Read the full story here:

Sources say that Google has offered to buy the Earth and take it private.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No Joke: GPhone

Take a look at this scuttlebutt about the GPhone from inside the software development industry:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Stephen Hawking Theory of Investing

The Market is a black hole. That much is clear.

You put your money in and it never comes out - right?

Au contraire! The Stephen Hawking Theory of Investing maintains that black holes are leaky toilets. Stuff is coming out of them all the time.

It might be your money, multiplied by the speed of light. Or it might be an umbrella.

Watch out for the umbrella.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Post-Traumatic Sell Syndrome

I am a battle-weary veteran of the campaigns of 2000-2002 for the conquest of Bubbleonia. I bought JDSU for a hundo and sold it for a one-do. Don't make me tell you any more, it will make you cry.

I have since been rehabilitated back into normal markets, but the psychological scars remain, evidenced by an overwhelming urge to sell. Last year I sold AAPL for 67. I sold GS for 147. And I sold GOOG for 366.

I thought I was getting better, but last week I sold more GOOG for 650. I told myself it was good money management, but it hurts so much...

I just want to be a normal, rich person.

Enough with Nattering!

I have been a Nattering Nabob of Negativity. An Agnew of Defeat. All because of 48 pitiful shares of GOOG that I sold in the interest of good money management.

Clearly, GOOG is going higher. I am glad I still have skin in the game. Just not as much skin as I used to have.

GOOG 661.25 open

McNealy Sunset

IBM didn't get it - they gave the software away free, because they thought it had no value. Olsen didn't get it. They were all hardware guys.

McNealy said, "The Internet is the computer," but he didn't get it either. He likened the Internet to the machine. He should have said, "The Internet is the Operating System." It's the software, stupid, not the hardware.

Gates got it and then lost it. He got trapped inside the box.

Page and Brin get it. Software. Running on the Internet from thousands of boxcars, filled with cheap PC's.

But Page and Brin stole one page from Gates' book: Gates catered to programmers, empowering them with great tools, and they developed the applications that locked everybody into Windows.

Page and Brin are doing the same thing in a more general way: empowering all content writers of every stripe, tieing us all into the Internet that is Google.

Extra credit:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Google and Greyhound

12:00 PM

GOOG 647

I may be an apprentice investor, but I know something about software. That's why I own as much Google as I can stand.

Check this out:

There are only so many ways that things can be configured. In 1995, Larry DeBoever was pointing out in private seminars where all the PC madness would end up - back at the mainframe.

My takeaway is that, with a hundred years of hindsight, we can see that the personal automobile was a mistake. It has led us down the path to your friendly auto mechanic, highway fatalities, dependence on foreign oil, pollution and global warming. All so we can pick up our kids at school every day.

The Personal Computer is also a mistake. It has given us the Geek Squad, personal head crashes, spam, porn in your home, identity theft and global warming.

But we will not make the same mistake twice. Google will show us the way.

Then they can fix the car thing.

Buzzard's View

10:00 AM

The most important thing I have learned is patience. The most important thing to do, most of the time, is nothing.

Google opened at 638 something. No matter - the question is, what will it do when it reaches 658 again. We're looking for a short-term top. And I'm watching the tape. I should be watching "Gilligan's Island". Instead of endlessly circling, searching for carrion.

The Hobbesian Theory of Investing

Today may be an interesting day.

8:50 AM

The Global Recession thesis is in play. Kernan is buying canned goods. The crisis will deepen this afternoon; rolling panic will set in, with capitulation taking place in the wee hours of the night. It will all be over by tomorrow afternoon. Nasty, brutish and short.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Google Guilt

It's Sunday - a time for acknowledging one's misdeeds and repenting of them.

I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry that I sold 48 shares of Google last week. I'm a long distance runner in Google. I had no business selling even a little of it. Google will never go down low enough for me to buy them back, without seeming like a total fool. Now, when I calculate my net worth, it will always be $48 less than it could have been.

But they told me to do it - they said it was the smart thing to do. And I believed them. I had seen the other side, and it wasn't pretty: I rode Broadcom to a double, and then rode it all the way back down to a crushing loss. They said, don't be a chump - sell into strength.

So that's what I did. And now I'm sorry. I will never sell another share of Google. I promise. Unless it goes down and I can get back in under 600.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Desperately Seeking Slumber

Last night, I laid down my head, happy that the market, for once, had fallen into line with my particular investment style - cash and Google.

But the weekend is no time to rest on one's laurel - an expectation must be formulated about the week to come. Whither Google? Whither cash?

Will $658.49 become the near term high or will GOOG power through to greater highs? If the broad market continues to sell off, it will be hard for GOOG to keep going. But if it powers through, there will still be a limit to its hubris around 675 to 700, I'm thinking. So if it gets there in the next week or so, I will trim a bit more.

If the market correction continues, it could take GOOG down with it to a buyable range. On the cash side, I will be looking desperately for an entry point. Are we setting up for a test of the summer lows? It might not go that far. "Global Recession" is the key - we need a little panic overseas.

Because if the market snaps back and Google stalls, I'm out the window.

At dawn, I was still looking up at the ceiling, considering my options.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Nearly Perfect Day

Is it a foolish consistency, or a foolish inconsistency, that is the hobgoblin of small (big?) minds? I'm never sure.

Anyway, I changed my mind, today. I sold 48 shares of GOOG for 650 even. I hope someday to buy them back, under 550. A brief drawdown in a good cause is not a bad thing.

I decided to sell, because I saw a change in the character of the market. With my long years of experience in the business, I detected a declining trend in the averages which accelerated as the day wore on. There was talk of global recession. Nobody knows what's holding some of these markets up. We ought to be able to work up a bear case for Google from that: Google sells to the world. And now the world is a bad place to be.

Of course, if GOOG keeps chugging north, I'll be very sorry that I sold. Because, let it be known, I am a pig. Let's face it: we're all pigs. We just don't want to get slaughtered, that's all.

Niederhoffer said in The New Yorker that he had never had one completely satisfying day in his trading life. Not one day that was perfect.

For me, today was close. Google went up and my cash didn't go down.

The Calm After the Storm

Well, everything didn't go nuts the way it did after breaking 300, when it popped 15% in twenty minutes. But that's OK. In fact, that's good. If it had run to 700 overnight, I would have had to sell some, and I don't want to.

Initially, the stock sold off on the rumor that GOOG had laid off all its employees, confirming the bears' suspicions that it's nothing but a machine. But then it rallied on the news that Google was going to change its name to Hooray!

The stock frothed up to 658 something, but has now settled back comfortably at 649.74 at its last observed transit of my screen.

The other good news, today, is that the Dow is down 200 and the S&P is down 20.

At least, I didn't have to eat my beanie. I like that beanie.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Google Eve

It's Wednesday evening around seven-thirty in the east. And it's all getting ready to come down to a single point, tomorrow afternoon. It's the party of the year. It makes life interesting, without the fear of complete and utter devastation.

I can feel the drama without the fear. With GOOG, I've seen victory and defeat. But the victories have all been great victories and the defeats have, well, been victories. To me, tomorrow is a lead pipe cinch. If tomorrow isn't something wonderful, I will eat my programmer's beanie.

The Difference Between Reckless and Foolhardy

My wife was happy when I went to cash last month. She would be happy if I put it all under our mattress in small bills, as long as it wasn't too lumpy.

But I'm not happy. I'm thinking of desperate measures. I asked my wife, "What would you think if I put all our cash into Google?" She frowned.

Back in May, I heard a guy on the Stock Channel say, "We're advising our clients to buy as much Google as they can stand."

I liked that guy. He catalyzed me into action. I sold all our individual stocks and bought Google with the proceeds. That was a good decision. Then I sold everything else for cash.

I said to my wife, "If we put everything into Google, the overwhelming probability is that we would get rich." She didn't say anything.

But I can't do it. Now I know how much Google I can stand.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Watching the River Flow

The problem with owning only one stock is, you don't have much to do all day. This morning it was down. Now, it's up.

Just for a little something to do, I checked the interest rate on my money market fund. Last month it was 5.11%. Now, it's 4.97%.

On TheStreetDotCom, Kass and Blackstein are going at it again. The only Google mention is from Meisler who talks about it going up $15-20 every day. So last week.

People disagreeing everywhere you look,
Makes you wanna stop and read a book.
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
That was really shook...

Monday, October 15, 2007


I don't do homework. I don't care what Cramer says, I've never read a balance sheet and it wouldn't do me any good if I did. The fact is, that's what I pay Cramer for. And Willard. And Altucher. Actually, I've never paid Altucher anything, but I presume that somebody does. Or maybe he works for free. Altucher is a hell of a nice guy, besides being really smart. Now that Willard has moved to Africa, Altucher is the guy I listen to most.

But that's not homework. I hate homework. All I want is a story I can believe in. Right now, the only story I believe in is Google. At the moment, it's down 11, but that's fine. If it was down a hunnert for no good reason, I'd buy more. I love Google.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tau Zero

Google has a problem with round numbers: it gets stuck.

When I first started looking at the stock, it had just poked through 200 and then turned back. The poor fool who paid $201 was mortified. I watched it go back to 180 and bought some. It kept going down to 160 before turning back up. It got stuck at 200 again and dithered for a while longer. There was nothing special about 200. It was just a round number.

Later, it got stuck again at 300. And 400. And 500. At 600, there was only a slight hesitation before it blew through. The law of large numbers was beginning to overtake the round number effect:

200 to 300 is a 50% move; 300 to 400 is a 33% move; 400 to 500 is a 25% move. You get the idea. Now we're moving from 600 to 700 which is a 16 2/3% move, but people are still looking at it as a hundred points. But a hundred points isn't what it used to be.

At Google 3000, you'll move through a hundred points and the only thing you'll notice will be a slight ringing in your ears.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I need a live chicken

The weekend is a time for mature reflection - to consider the things done right and wrong in the past five days and apply the wisdom gleaned to the week ahead.

Google has had a mighty run. Next Thursday is earnings. What to do. Six weeks ago, I had reasoned if it was well over six hundred going into earnings, I would trim a third. That's the smart thing. But I'm not smart!

I think something else is going on. Google dawdled all last year. The numbers said 600, easy. Forget 600 - nobody could believe Google 500. The big number thing. Now, it's time to look at the situation again, and the analysts are saying 700, 800, 900... 3000, 5000. And everybody's worried because we're over 600. It's embarrassing. So I'm thinking this is like when the Dow went from four thousand to seven thousand overnight, and never looked back. I think that Google is being revaluated and we're going to see 750 soon and never look back. Fair value. Can you imagine where this stock would be right now if it were overvalued?

So, next week, I'm standing pat. I'm trimming nothing. But I wish I had a black cat bone with a heap of mojo on it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dumb Luck and Emotional Need

Today, work intervened - not much time to monitor the economy, the markets and Google from my desktop. Usually, I keep the Stock Channel running in one window, with the sound turned down. And I'm in and out of Cramer all day long. I can't believe how much smarter I am now than I used to be.

I used to be really dumb: in May, 1998, the market had gone up 30% a year for three years and I thought, this can't go on, so even though I had never heard of "Sell in May...", I sold in May. Everything. Then I went away - I didn't think about the market during June, July, August or September. In early October, I was shocked to learn how much everything had gone down. On October 9, I bought back in.

Now I fret about every turn of the market. I read tons of intelligent speculation. And so, with great precision, I sold everything again - the day before the Fed acted and set off the greatest bull market in history, if Kudlow can be believed.

Yesterday, Google ended down a fin and I was surprised to find that it took the bloom off my evening. I need Google every day in this time of shame and humiliation.

But today, all is well again. Up fifteen. GOOG is in its Engine, and all's right with the world.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Strategic Indecision

The decision to sell all my non-Google investments was not part of my original plan - it resulted from strategic indecision and rash action.

Last year, Altucher remarked in his blog that the Dow could go to 16,000 in a year. Thousands rebuked him for this opinion. I didn't. It became the linchpin of my hopes and expectations.

Then Ken Fisher stated on Kudlow one evening that the market, in his opinion, could advance 20-30% this year. This suited Kudlow who was already talking about Goldilocks every day. I made another mental note and bought more mutual funds.

Kudlow, a man of balance and fair play, had bears as well as bulls on his show, so they could yell at each other. He invited Gary Shilling and Nouriel Roubini. He had Kass and Ritholtz. When they spoke, the bulls laughed at them. They laughed back. Everybody was happy.

A couple of credit crunches later, nobody was laughing anymore. Even Kudlow was worried. I reconsidered. Then, on the day before the Fed met last month, I sold everything except my 311 shares of Google.

The next day, I was sorry. I asked myself, what would Cramer do? But I am no Cramer. I couldn't do it. Instead, I rationalized it as part of my Google-pure plan.

Today, Google is up another nine dollars in early trading. It is the only thing that I can be happy about. Thank God for Google.

Look up
Is that the moon we see?
Can't be
Looks like the sun to me
It's late...

At 3:30 PM, the market is sharply down and the stock with the goo-goo-googly size is down 12 points. I had forgotten that it could go down. Good thing I don't own anything else. (Who do I think I'm kidding? There's nobody even here to bluff.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Google Pure

The title of this blog is a misnomer. It is not about my opinions of Google. I have many opinions about Google, but you wouldn't be interested in any of them. This blog is about a long-distance runner in Google. It's about me.

I'm not young and I'm not rich. Four years ago, I retired, but returned, as a contractor, to my old job. My pension is secure and I can almost live on it, but my contract job gives me something I never had before - free cash flow.

I'd never been in business and I knew nothing about economics or markets. I decided to manage my own money.

In the spring of 2004, I added a brokerage account to my portfolio. I subscribed to Cramer. I started trading stocks. I had traded stocks briefly in the sixties, when I was in my twenties and lost $18,000 from excessive margin calls.

Now, I was older and wiser. I diversified. Some of the stocks I bought went up and some went down. Some of them went up and then went down. Like NYX. I don't own that anymore. In fact, I don't own anything anymore. Except Google.

I bought a hundred shares of Google in 2005. Actually, I bought 10 shares, and then I bought 20 more shares, and then I bought 170 shares, and then I sold 100 shares. From all these transactions, I booked a profit of about $200.

The 100 shares I had left cost $189.59 each. When they doubled, I quick sold 50 shares for $366. The stock never again fell below that price.

I held fast my 50 remaining shares. Every time Google went up a dollar, I was fifty dollars richer. I calculated my net worth constantly. I was pitiful.

I put the bulk of my money into mutual funds. I became conservative in my mind. But deep down I knew that I only had 50 shares of Google. And I knew it was wrong.

On May 24 of this year, everything came to a head: I sold all my individual stocks - msft, erts, adbe, stx, gern, jdsu and wtr. With the proceeds, I bought 261 additional shares of Google at an average price of $478. My net cost basis, including the original 50 shares, was $437.

But I didn't stop there: I sold all my mutual funds and put all the proceeds into a money market fund. I wanted to be Google pure.

Today, Google closed at $625.39 and added another five dollars in the after hours. A gPhone has been sighted. A sense of acceleration is in the air.