Fri, 2009/02/13 - 2:07pm | Your editor

     After my GoGranny note of yesterday I was accused of hating the 21st century. Untrue. I was an earlier user of computer-to-computer data exchange, using the telephone lines between London (where my editors were) and Paris (where I lived) more than 25 years ago. It was slow but faster than going to the main post office to send a fax or dictating to stenographers or typing a telex.

    But the present day Internet (not yet invented then) is full of time wasting, spam barrages and spamblocker irritants, identity spoofs and identity theft tricks, emails full of insults and indiscretions people wish they had not sent you about a minute after they did, attempts to part you from your money or your bank account details, and niggling procedures made more irritating by supposedly 'fun' music.

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Thu, 2009/02/12 - 4:35pm | Your editor

    I almost did not do a blog today, harassed as I was by the registration process at where our domain names are housed. To change the address and email address I had to send them documentation like tax papers and a driver's license by fax.


     Then it turned out a federal tax form was not accepted; they require a state tax form. And a driver's license in color will not be readable so they require a password page. And yur password has to be only numbers not alphanumeric.


     Finding out these requirements required phoning the help line and listening to ghastly rap ye-ye music about GoDaddy while this GoGranny was on hold. Agh. So taking a clue from what Gertrude Stein wrote in her Radcliffe blue book for her exam with Prof. William James, I was going to write: “Dear Prof. James, I do not feel like writing an essay (blog) today." For this she got an A.

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A world of shopkeepers

Wed, 2009/02/11 - 3:24pm | Your editor

   The retailing sector is taking the lead in making adjustments for the current financial crisis. Because selling goods is such a hand-to-mouth business, often financed by manufacturers or whatever is being sold, the storekeepers are quick to react to a crisis.

      Belgium’s Delhaize Le Lion, a powerful supermarket chain, has simply stopped selling products from Unilever pending a price cut from the Anglo-Dutch firm, according to today’s Wall Street Journal. Read more »

The Ham-fisted Techie

Tue, 2009/02/10 - 5:20pm | Your editor

     I have now had our assets assigned back to my company by Rightside Advisors under law. The problem of finding a human being who can handle the technical issues of actually making the transfer remains. We hope to collect subscription and subscriber information from RSA to allow us to continue to not only provide you with your newsletters, but also to allow you to view our model portfolios and our ADRGuide. And, incidentally, to allow my company to bill you for subscriptions and renewals and other services like special reports.

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Mon, 2009/02/09 - 2:33pm | Your editor

     Today’s further unlinking of indexes with individual stock performance increases my confidence in the stock-picking way we invest. The further breakdown in the link between the price of gold and that of oil further increases my confidence in micro-economic rather than broad-brush investment advice.

     But having said that, I think there are lessons which can be drawn about the situation of companies in the same industry from the experiences of their rivals. Read more »

Deflation stocks

Fri, 2009/02/06 - 3:38pm | Your editor

     Now that we all have bought our Areva CIP, I figured I had better tell you why it is a deflation stock (as well as of course a play on nuclear energy.) ARVCF.PK is, as noted yesterday, controlled by the French Republic. CIP means we own investment certificates, not common shares.


     Areva is also a total political football because it is state controlled. And in a deflationary environment, boy oh boy does the state take control.

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No More Day Trading

Thu, 2009/02/05 - 6:42pm | Your editor

      Sorry we are tardy but today has been busy with lots of companies’ earnings reports. And we are working on our contract to take back our assets and liabilities from Rightside Advisors.

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Nana was right.

Wed, 2009/02/04 - 3:46pm | Your editor


Nana was right. A couple of weeks ago from London I wrote that the Hamley’s toy shop on Regents Street had gone bankrupt. It hadn’t but today the Baugur group which owned it has filed for protection from its creditors. Hamley’s launched the make-a-bear program where children could have a teddy bear made to their specifications while they watched. If you wanted a brown bear or a black bear, with green eyes or black eyes, or with long fur or short, dressed as a boy or a girl, it would be created for you.


     Unfortunately children were absolutely terrified by the noisy machine which put the stuffing into the made-to-measure bear. Tears of fear not chortles of joy.

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day trading gains

Tue, 2009/02/03 - 3:38pm | Your editor

Day trading in Barclays preferreds yesterday did not work out because my offer prices were too low. The market still has confidence in BCS despite the downrating by Moody's which triggered my interest. So at the end of the day, I switched to putting $5000 into DryShips instead. Again I used a limit order and paid $4.95 per share. My logic was that the situation was dire but that there would be an out because the company does have assets. As I wrote yesterday, the banks really don't want to run a shipping fleet. We all own a half stake in DRYS.Q having sold half when the price topped $100.

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Back into BCS

Mon, 2009/02/02 - 1:01pm | Your editor

This morning I put in two orders to repurchase Barclays preferred shares. I will not tell you which series, because you may get in the way of my lowball offers. But there are at least 4 variants. My reasons follow:

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