Off Topic

While in a Marriott for Thanksgiving, I was quite surprised when I saw this name on my hotel’s complimentary conditioner…

(We might need a new topic for “waaaay off topic”…)

Sorry about that random posting earlier today… Call it a technical oops.

For anyone who is interested, I’ve started using MS Word 2007 for writing some of my blog postings. It nicely handles uploading and resizing images, which is a killer feature… though I can’t get it to do the lightbox effect directly.

All together, Word does a good job… unless it accidentally posts to the wrong blog when you click on “publish as draft”.

If you really want to aggressively bet on a singularity approaching, you could do some pretty reckless things with the latest thing from Wall Street: life settlement backed securities.

From Business Week: Profiting From Mortality

Death bond is shorthand for a gentler term the industry prefers: life settlement-backed security. Whatever the name, it’s as macabre an investing concept as Wall Street has ever cooked up. Some 90 million Americans own life insurance, but many of them find the premiums too expensive; others would simply prefer to cash in early. “Life settlements” are arrangements that offer people the chance to sell their policies to investors, who keep paying the premiums until the sellers die and then collect the payout. For the investors it’s a ghoulish actuarial gamble: The quicker the death, the more profit is reaped.

I don’t want to have every post I write be about the subprime fallout and real estate…? fascinating though it may be.? So, in the interests of changing subjects, here is an old joke…

A guy who goes to his financial planner and says, “I want the best possible returns and I’m willing to take whatever risks are necessary.”

The financial planner says, “Great! I have just the ticket for you if you have the risk tolerance. The risks are high that you could lose everything, but it has the best possible return of anything you could put your money into. If it pays off, you would have a 3 billion percent return on the initial investment on average.? In some cases the numbers are much higher. ? This investment is the only place you’ll be able to find a 3 billion percent return with a holding period of less than a day…”

The customer is salivating at the mouth, waiting to hear the answer…

The answer: Take all your savings and buy lottery tickets for the next big jackpot drawing!? If you really don’t care about the risks (of losing 100% of the money “invested”), it does provide the best possible return compared to the $1 you pay for the winning ticket!

Here’s a lighter note from back in July 2002 at the bottom of the bear market:

If you had purchased $1,000 worth of “WorldCom” stock one year ago, it would now be worth US$10.59. If you had purchased US$1,000 worth of “Enron” stock one year ago, it would now be worth US$0.71. If you had purchased US$1,000 worth of “Budweiser” (the beer… not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, then traded in the cans at the redemption center, you would have US$107.

Given the current conditions of the market, drink heavily and recycle.

Ever wonder what is going on with Ben Bernanke’s personal finances?? Slate took a look back before he was appointed the Fed Chair position.?? Bernanke’s net worth is between $1 and $5 million, and he owns only one common stock — shares of Altria/Phillip Morris.
Also amusing…? the personal financial profiles of Barack Obama, Harriet Miers, Chief Justice John Roberts, and plenty more I’m sure…

I just ran into an amusing interchange between CXO Advisors and the Boo-Yeah man himself…? read it here: Guru Grades ? Jim Cramer Comments on Our Evaluations of His Advice.

The result is not too surprising… Cramer shows off his lack of professionalism and his ability to rant and play a game of distraction…

Yahoo has a short fluff piece about the latest problem with spyware and malware… once a system is compromised, the bad guys are sniffing for login credentials at discount/online brokers. Not so they can withdraw your money, but rather so they can use your account to manipulate trading in illiquid stocks…

Remember the Internet chat-room hypester? The one who would tout some obscure penny stock that he had recently purchased in the hopes of creating a buying frenzy that he could sell into? That kind of “pump and dump” chicanery eventually evolved into email and online message-board hype. […]

Today’s cybercrooks are simply cutting out the middleman. They use your account to fire up the “pump,” in order to “dump” from their own account shortly thereafter.

The Hacker Made Me Do It (Yahoo Finance)

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that “there are now more than 430,000 households in the U.S. with a net worth of $10 million or more.” That is a whopping 0.14% of the population in the Deca-Millionaire Club…

I keep thinking back to the scene from Brewster’s Millions when John Candy is chanting “Ten million, ten million, ten million dollars!”

When I first saw this chart of Manchester Inc.’s stock price, I thought it was a mistake… that some web developer was using this as a unit test of his charting site…

No, it is a real bulletin board stock, and yes, it really did go from $8 to $3 in two days.? No real reason for it either…? just traders riding the chart pattern and then all trying to get out at the same time.

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