The Danger of All Stocks

The 100% Stock Solution


Stocks often have outperformed bonds over long periods. An investor who put $100,000 into the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index 25 years ago would have had more than $1 million this April, while the same amount in the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index would be worth $560,900, according to investment researcher Morningstar.

The problem: Stocks take investors on a rockier ride, and the threat of large, long-lasting drops looms. The S&P 500 fell 38% in 2008, amid the financial crisis, and didn't close above its precrisis peak until March.

Investors risk locking in their losses if they sell stocks after that kind of drop, as many did during the financial crisis, due either to fear of greater losses or a short-term need for cash. If the money is needed to fund retirement, for instance, the damage can be catastrophic.

To manage that risk, conventional wisdom dictates striking a balance, putting some investments in stocks and some in bonds and gradually adjusting the proportions to boost the fixed-income allocation as an investor ages. Popular "target date" mutual funds often make the adjustment automatically.

... All-stock investors need to make sure they can ride out a downturn. That is a difficult calculation to make because no one knows how long a bear market will last—or how low it will go.
Comment: There are mitigating factors: For example does one have a guaranteed stream of income: say a pension or social security. The key seems to be, if one cannot ride out a downturn, then the all-stock portfolio is at risk.

Pete Rose ... alive and well in Glitter Gulch: Charlie Hustle in a city of hustlers

Pete Rose Works Full-Time Selling His Signature in Las Vegas


Since 2005, he has spent several hours per day, 15 to 25 days per month, 12 months per year signing his name for money. He signs and poses for photos with anyone who buys memorabilia from his business partners, with items such as baseballs and photos ranging from $75 to $800. And for this, Rose earns more than $1 million per year.
Comment: Good to know that his signature is not a rarity (so don't invest in a signed baseball on Ebay!)


Samba file server

Finally after more than a year of not using my Linux box, I set it up as a Samba file server.

My wife brought the issue to my attention was we were cleaning out the den. The "you should get rid of that thing" conversation.

I am using Webmin for the administration. Samba could also be used for a print server but we are printer-less and intend to stay that way.


Time for a new Shredder - Fellowes Powershred W-11C

Fellowes Powershred W-11C

Comment: Old one gave up the ghost.I think we had it for over 12 years because our cats are 12 and they were kittens when we bought it. I understand  your are supposed to periodically oil these things. The last one ... never oiled once! This generation ... I bought some oil and resolve to apply it once and a while.

Jim's 10 ETFs with $ 500K

As a followup to Jim Cramer's Owning Ten Stocks is Just Right, I would go with 10 ETFs. (Click image above for larger). The above is:

  • 20% bonds with BND and AGG
  • Has the stock indexes of DIA, SPY, and the NASDAQ. (Note ... I chose ONEQ over QQQ because the the yield!)
  • Is 20% preferred stocks with PGX and PFF.
  • Has MLP exposure with the popular AMLP
  • A passive investor could choose these and just let 'em ride 
  • Altogether has a dividend yield of 3.5%

Cramer: "[Owning] Ten [stocks] is just right

Cramer: How Many Stocks Are Too Many?


Largely Cramer thinks if you hold more than 10, you won't be as informed as you need to be to succeed. "More than ten and you will likely start skimping on the homework , and that's incredibly dangerous," Cramer said. By homework, Cramer means the research that's necessary to keep yourself abreast of all the catalysts in the market that can move the stock. It involves examining earnings reports , reading news stories, and parsing through Wall Street analysis. And that's time consuming. "Homework means committing one hour per week per stock," Cramer said. "Much less than that, and you might as well be gambling." And few people can commit more than 10 hours per week. "Therefore, I say you can't handle thirty stocks, even twenty is like having a part-time job. Ten, however, is just right," Cramer said.

  • I would have a hard time with just 10 stocks. 
  • I try to diversify across industries and within industries. For example we have Pepsi, Coke, and Dr Pepper.
  • The chart below illustrates my hypothetical 10 stock list ... with an total investment of approximately half a million. 


Ditch the insurance - "real health care reform"

South Portland doctor stops accepting insurance, posts prices online


... the decision to do away with insurance allows Ciampi to practice medicine the way he sees fit, he said. Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls.
“I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients,” Ciampi said. “If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense.”
Ciampi expects more doctors will follow suit. Some may choose to run “concierge practices” in which patients pay to keep a doctor on retainer, he said.
Gordon Smith, a spokesman for the Maine Medical Association, wasn’t so sure, saying most patients either want to use the insurance they pay for or need to rely on Medicare and Medicaid.
Even with the loss of some patients, Ciampi expects his practice to perform just as well financially, if not better, than before he ditched insurance. The new approach will likely attract new patients who are self-employed, lack insurance or have high-deductible plans, he said, because Ciampi has slashed his prices.
“I’ve been able to cut my prices in half because my overhead will be so much less,” he said.
Before, Ciampi charged $160 for an office visit with an existing patient facing one or more complicated health problems. Now, he charges $75.
Comment: His homepage.


A flash of white .... an burst of dust


This is in the category of something one doesn't see everyday. Kathee and I were returning from Lowes at about 3:30 to 3:45 p.m. today. We were driving West on Rockford Road (Co Road 9) approaching Vinewood Lane. A pickup truck crossed in front of me on Vinewood LN. I hypothesize that he was gunning it to beat the light because the light was green for me. His passing was the flash of white. Then there was an eruption of dust to my right. The truck had left the road and slammed into a stone wall on the Cornerstone Auto property. The impact flipped the truck 180 degrees.

Kathee called 911 with her cell phone. I pulled into the St Joseph church parking lot and then drove over to approximately the location of the picture above. Many people had pulled over to assist the driver. The truck was perched at an angle with the drivers side on the top of the stone wall (the stone wall is not pictured above ... it was installed after the Google street view photo was taken).

Those who came to the drivers aid were unable to get the doors open. Smoke began to fill the truck cab.

Quickly two fire trucks arrived then a handful of police cars. And then an ambulance.

A fireman pried open the passenger side door.

We stayed and watched the action for 15 or 20 minutes until finally the driver was extricated.

Interestingly, my Brother works at O'Reilly Auto Parts in the shopping center at that corner. He heard the crash and also called 911.

Unsure of the final outcome of the driver. We prayed for him. Hope he is ok.


Experts on - "one stock, just for fun"

The Experts: How to Pick a 'Just for Fun' Stock

Multiple views .... here are two of the best:

My advice would be to buy Berkshire Hathaway stock and let Warren Buffett pick companies for you. (NYSE: BRK:A, BRK:B)

... If you were only to select a single stock, then you would want to select a company that was, by its business model, well diversified by type of business and by geography. There might be several companies that would meet that definition, but two that come to mind are Berkshire Hathaway and/or General Electric .
Comment: My own views:

  • It's best not to invest "for fun". Investing is serious stuff. Money can be lost and not regained.
  • If I could only buy one stock (not an ETF) I would probably pick Coke (KO). Why: A good consumer stock. People drink this stuff (I prefer Pepsi!)
  • Stocks aside I would pick PEY ... the ETF. Nice diversification!
  • If I were a beginning investor, I would use Sharebuilder and invest $ 300 per month using their Automatic Investing at ShareBuilder . This is how we got started. 

On Stock Splits

How to Use Stock Splits to Build a Winning Portfolio


It is difficult to see why you should. A 2-for-1 split, for example, merely means you now own twice as many shares that are worth half as much.

But try telling that to Neil Macneale, editor of an investment-advisory service called "2 for 1," whose model portfolio contains only those stocks that have recently split their shares, holding them for 30 months. Over the past decade, according to the Hulbert Financial Digest, that portfolio has produced a 14% annualized return, far outpacing the 8% gain of the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, including dividends.

Mr. Macneale's track record isn't a fluke. Several studies have found that the average stock undergoing a split outperforms the overall market by a significant margin over the three years following the company's announcement of that split.
Comment: We have two stocks that recently split: Colgate-Palmolive Co. and The Coca-Cola Company . The one I would like to see split is IBM.

Who Scammed America's Youth?

Comment: My response to a young friend who said: "This is so true! Getting a career in the US is non-existent. A four-year college degree is barely worth it!"

Dear Class of ‘13: You’ve Been Scammed


Class of 2013, No one else is going to tell you this, so I might as well.

You sit here today, $30,000 or $40,000 in debt, as the latest victims of what may well be the biggest conspiracy in U.S. history.

It is a conspiracy so big and powerful that Dan Brown won’t even touch it. It’s a conspiracy so insidious that you will rarely hear its name.

Move over, Illuminati. Stand down, Wall Street. Area 51? Pah. It’s nothing. The biggest conspiracy of all?

The College-Industrial Complex.

Consider this: You have just paid about three times as much for your degree as did someone graduating 30 years ago. That’s in constant dollars - in other words, after accounting for inflation. There is no evidence that you have received a degree three times as good. Some would wonder if you have received a degree even one times as good.

According to the College Board, in 1983 a typical private American university managed to provide a bachelor’s degree education to young people just like you for $11,000 a year in tuition and fees. That’s in 2012 dollars.

Instead, those of you at private colleges paid this year an average of $29,000.

And back then a public college charged just $2,200 a year in tuition and fees - in today’s dollars. You could get a full four-year degree for $8,800. Today that will get you one year’s tuition, or $8,700.

Notice, please, we are not even counting the cost of all the “extras,” like room and board. This is just the cost of the teaching. It is, as a result, no surprise that total student loans are now approaching $1 trillion. They have easily overtaken credit card debts and car loans.
My response:

  • Why my wife and I didn't borrow $$ for college way back when? Because you couldn't borrow $$ for college. We probably would have been foolish enough to walk into that trap. But that trap wasn't set! (I know Ma and DoDad (Kathee's parents) or Alvah and Cleone (my folks) wouldn't have co-signed for us or steered us that way!
  • Private college? Yeah sure. Kathee went to a 2 year community college (now a University). She lived at home with her parents and road a bike to college. And worked at various jobs like a bakery and a museum making minimum wage. See On the Value of Community College
  • Christian colleges: They have skimped on accreditation, are poorly run (Pillsbury), and flaky (Northland). Plus they offer "majors" like "women's studies", "camping", et cetera. To young people who love the Lord - great! Love the Lord. But don't think the you have to satisfy your Pastor or Youth Director by attending the latest fad school. Want to serve the Lord in a ministry vocation? (It's commendable!). Get a BA or BS from a decent college and then get an M.A. or M.Div from seminary. 
  • Can a young person still go to college and graduate debt free? Two of my own young adults did. It wasn't easy for either of them. One started working at 14 and saved and saved working as a coffee shop barista. All the way through college. Graduated debt free. With honors. Was offered a bonus (as I recollect of $ 5000) to be hired on with 3M. The other risked his life in the the USMC (served in Iraq and soon to serve with the MN National Guard in Afghanistan. GI bill paid for all tuition. Was that hard work? Yes ... finally graduated debt free from the U of Minnesota last year (Engineering)
  • There are plenty of jobs available. But one must match the education and training to the job. Kids think that they have to get an education in an area where they have passion. I know many who have degrees in Art, and other such areas where there just aren't jobs. We know a young person who got a degree in history and wanted to work at the Wells Fargo Museum. Fact is ... the workers here get by just fine with a HS education!
  • The perfect storm for failure: hard-headedness + averageness + an aversion to hard work and risk. I'm average. I mean completely average. But I was able to figure out how to get a half way decent education and graduate without debt (my parents and my wife's parents instilled in us an aversion to debt. I had HS friends whose parents filed for bankruptcy and that was considered a very shameful thing. My Dad's basic credo was "if you don't have it don't spend it". Frankly I violated that many times and sometimes overused debt. It was foolish! On risk: My risk-taking points: applying for a job to be on the road working for the phone company as a laborer (summer job). I was offered the job and even had accepted it ... but was offered a better job at a chemical plant and reneged (interestingly twice I was offered jobs from AT&T and twice I turned them down for better offers - once after college)
  • Here's the great thing about youth! You are not too old to learn and recover from your mistakes. Unsatisfied with your job? Met with a career counselor or a mentor. Ask yourself these questions: What would I like to be doing? How much would I like to be making? Do I have an aptitude for that? Be realistic! What options are there to get from A (where you now are) to B where you would like to be. 
  • For the Christian: It's not a shameful thing to have a career. Rather it's a shameful thing to lack ambition and gumption. I have more respect for the man working at the mundane job in industry but providing for himself, saving, being a productive member of society, active in his church and giving faithfully than for the dreamer who wants to "serve the Lord" and is dreaming about ministry glory. 
  • Who scammed America's youth? Pogo answers above!

Visual History Of The Dow - 2002 to 2012

Visual History Of The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA)

Comments: Article has visual history from '99 to '12. Interesting. I've tried to cherry pick the current DOW for investing. My four don't have (have not invested in) from the current DJIA: HPQ, BAC, VZ, and DIS

On the why-nots:


Mom's house goes to market

6804 Towerwood Dr, Arlington, TX 76001

Comments: Mom moved into a retirement home March 1st. Since then (championed by my sister): house clean out ... estate sale .... minor plumbing fix ... carpet shampooing .... full interior paint. The above link is not the MLS listing. A very comfortable home with an extra family room on  the back and another detached 2 car garage in the back. Hoping it sells quickly

John cHickenlooper: Colorado's "chicken governor" and the Chuck-E-Cheese killer

1993 article

Colorado governor blasted for death-penalty reprieve in Chuck E. Cheese murders

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is under fire for his decision to block the execution of man convicted of massacring four people at a Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora, Colo., two decades ago.

The Democrat has vowed not to sign a death warrant for Nathan Dunlap as long as he's in office, even though he declined to back an outright repeal of capital punishment two months ago.

Hickenlooper's decision on Dunlap — a day before lawyers for Aurora movie-theater massacre suspect James Holmes were due in court to challenge the death-penalty statute — infuriated some victims' relatives and law-enforcement officials.

"He should die," former Aurora Police Officer Dan Jones, who was the first to arrive at Chuck E. Cheese the night of Dec. 14, 1993, told NBC station KUSA.

"What he did was horrific. And now 20 years later...the governor passes the buck."

Bob Crowell, whose 19-year-old daughter Sylvia was one of those killed, called Hickenlooper a "chicken governor."

"We've waited an awful long time," Crowell said after a heated conference call with the governor on Wednesday. "It's a little like carrying a knife in my back. Today, that night was severely twisted." 

Colorado has had the death penalty since 1977, although only one person has been put to death since then and there are just three on Death Row.
Comment: It's time for justice for the slain!

The Duluth to Brainerd drug run .... by cab! $ 500 per pop!

State pays up to $500 cab fare to take methadone patients from Duluth to Brainerd


For four months, the FOX 9 Investigators watched and noticed cab after cab kept coming from the Duluth area roughly 115 miles way despite the fact that Duluth has its own methadone clinic. One methadone patient described the process as "outrageous," and said the state pays as much as $500 a day for those fares.
Comment: 114 miles ... I'm sure they dead-head back!


Apple's "ITax": "[It] isn't alchemy; it's accountancy"

Apple’s Right, Corporate Income Tax Should Be Killed: Pulitzer Prize-Winnng Tax Expert


Many economists and tax experts, and of course CEOs, have pushed for more drastic change – like eliminating the corporate income tax altogether.

 “I think it would make the system much simpler,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning tax expert David Cay Johnston. He spoke to The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Henry Blodget as Cook went head-to-head with Congress.

Johnston says killing the corporate income tax outright would immediately spur growth, investment and hiring. Plus, eliminating the tax would reduce the number of tax loopholes and make a lot of the corporate lobbying in DC moot. One proponent of far-reaching tax reform is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The anti-tax hawk – and tea party favorite – told the Senate subcommittee to apologize to Cook and Apple executives.

"If anyone should be on trial here it should be Congress ... for creating a bizarre and byzantine tax code," said Paul. "If you want to assign blame, this committee needs to look in the mirror and see who created that mess." That “mess” is still the tax law of the land. If Cook’s reform efforts gain steam, maybe they could call it the iTax.

The Apple Tax Diversion - Senators beat up a U.S. success for following the tax laws they wrote.


Mr. Levin unveiled the results of his months-long investigation into Apple's corporate taxes and accused the American business success of employing "alchemy" and "gimmickry" to lower its tax bill. What Mr. Levin did not do was present any evidence of anything illegal or even inappropriate. He did prove that Apple has smart accountants and tax lawyers.

Mr. Levin is outraged that Apple subsidiaries in Ireland pay little or no corporate income tax on profits generated from Apple's international sales. Ireland has a laudably low corporate tax rate of 12.5% to attract jobs and capital, but it turns out that for certain corporations controlled by entities outside Ireland, the deal gets better.

The Apple units are based in Ireland, so U.S. law does not consider them to be U.S. corporations subject to U.S. corporate tax. But since they are managed and controlled by Apple in the U.S., Irish law doesn't consider them Irish companies and thus they are also not subject to the 12.5% Irish corporate tax. This isn't alchemy; it's accountancy. 

...... None of this required a Senate "investigation" to discover because Apple is constantly inspected by the IRS and other tax authorities. These tax collectors are well aware of Apple's corporate structure, which has remained essentially the same since 1980. An Apple executive said Tuesday that the company's annual U.S. tax return adds up to a stack of paperwork more than two feet high.

We wonder what the Irish think of the spectacle of an American Senator expressing outrage that an American company doesn't pay enough Irish taxes. As Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson pointed out on Tuesday, Americans are better off when U.S. companies pay less in taxes to foreign governments.

That includes Americans who are invested in Apple through their mutual and pension funds. And it includes Apple's U.S. workers who benefit when the company is able to sell more iPhones and iPads overseas. Roughly 50,000 of Apple's 75,000 employees are in the U.S.

It's also amazing to behold Democrats who routinely claim that high tax rates don't matter to business behavior denouncing a business for engaging in behavior to avoid paying higher tax rates. Which brings us to the real scandal that Mr. Levin has exposed: the folly of America's corporate tax code.
Comment: The Facts:

  • Congress made the tax code complex. It is complex for individuals and it is manyfold more complex for corporations!
  • Has Apple broken the law? Nope! They have followed the law and explored all the loopholes available to them. I do that when I pay taxes. I minimize every tax by taking every deduction!
  • The complexities introduce many inefficiencies into the economy: Accountants, Auditors, Agents, Lobbyists, et cetera. 
  • All corporate income taxes are passed invisibly onto consumers. 


Tornadoes, Oklahoma, and Safe Rooms

Interactive Map: 1999, 2003, 2013 Moore Tornadoes

My first tornado experience was when I was a very young child. We were visiting my Aunt and Uncle's house in Alto Michigan. My Aunt and Uncle and Mom and Dad were out someplace together and I was with my cousins and siblings. Of that group of six (Lila, Steve, Linda, Nancy, me, and Roger) I was # 5 in age. I believe Lila is 13 years older than I. My recollection is not clear but I would guess that I was between 6 and 9 - probably closer to six because Lila was unmarried at the time and still lived at home. Tornado sirens sounded and we were to go to the cellar. Problem was that the cellar was flooded. As it turned out we were safe but farm homes and barns all around us were damaged (Dad drove us around the next day).

I'm not sure it this was a tornado experience or just a violent thunderstorm, but when we lived in Fort Wayne Indiana there was a nasty storm. I went out with my Father afterwards to survey the damage. I remember that there were multiple downed powerlines and Dad kept a tight hand on me to keep me far from danger.

In Colorado we experienced a tornado but it was North of us by several miles and the Colorado tornadoes are not that powerful.

Here in Plymouth we experienced a very violent thunderstorm shortly after moving in.We retreated to the lower level and even into the unfinished back room that is supposed to be the safest part of our house.

In 1999 we flew to Dallas and witnessed from the air the aftermath (by a week or so) of the 1999 Oklahoma tornado (red line above). And in 2003 we witnessed the aftermath of that tornado (blue line above)

On Oklahoma: I would live there. I'm not likely to live there but Oklahoma City is very attractive. The Arbuckle Mountain area is also very attractive.

On safe rooms: Our safe room in Plymouth is on the lower level. It is on the West side of the house and very protected. I'm not saying that we would be protected from an F-5 ... but we would be protected from the typical Minnesota tornado.Somewhere we have a crank style emergency radio and we have plenty of flashlights.

If one lived in Oklahoma, a safe room would be a worthy investment. As Kathee has said many times, "I wouldn't live in Oklahoma unless I had a safe room. Here's an example.

The Great Gold Rotation - "300 tons"

Gold ETFs Are Liquidating By the Ton


An ounce of gold, often represented by a single American Eagle coin, is a fairly easy thing to visualize. Even a 400 ounce gold bar, like the ones held at Fort Knox, is a fairly fathomable concept. But when you try to get your head around just how much of the metal an ETF like the SPRD Gold Shares (GLD) owns, it can get a little daunting. And the same is true when you try to track how much they've had to sell as the price of gold slips to a 2-1/2 year low.

"300 tons," says Tom Lydon, the editor of ETF Trends, in the attached video, calling the disposal of over 600,000 pounds of gold so far this year "amazing" and "incredible."

This, of course, as the largest metal-tracking fund has gone from briefly being the biggest ETF, to being a top-5 player after being cut in half to approximately $46 billion in value today, holding just over 1,000 tons of gold in its vaults.

While gold is clearly out of favor forcing the hand of holders to sell into weakness, Lydon says it won't always be that way. "Central banks maybe aren't as concerned," he lists as one reason why gold is down. "I think the average investor, with stocks and bonds doing so well, I think they say, 'hey, I don't need to hedge, so that gold position I had, I'm going to put that into stocks for now.'"
Comment: If (when?) inflation kicks in ... Gold will be safe harbor. Image above is of a 400 oz gold bar. 300 tons would be the equivalent of 24,000 400 oz gold bars.


Obamacare meets Murphy's law

Employers Eye Bare-Bones Health Plans Under New Law


Employers are increasingly recognizing they may be able to avoid certain penalties under the federal health law by offering very limited plans that can lack key benefits such as hospital coverage.

Benefits advisers and insurance brokers—bucking a commonly held expectation that the law would broadly enrich benefits—are pitching these low-benefit plans around the country. They cover minimal requirements such as preventive services, but often little more. Some of the plans wouldn't cover surgery, X-rays or prenatal care at all. Others will be paired with limited packages to cover additional services, for instance, $100 a day for a hospital visit.

Federal officials say this type of plan, in concept, would appear to qualify as acceptable minimum coverage under the law, and let most employers avoid an across-the-workforce $2,000-per-worker penalty for firms that offer nothing. Employers could still face other penalties they anticipate would be far less costly.
Comment:  Murphy's law


Campbell Dividends: Chunky? or Consommé?

Campbell Looks a Little Thin These Days


With a seeming imperviousness to economic cycles, Campbell's annual operating income has varied little over the past decade. In a world of low interest rates, that bondlike quality is a plus. Campbell funds dividends and buybacks from healthy free cash flow: Fiscal 2012's equates to a "yield" of 5.6% of the company's market capitalization. That is higher than for many "junk" bonds.

And unlike regular bonds, a stock also will at least keep pace with inflation, or at least that's the theory. Adjusted for the consumer-price index, Campbell's operating income has in fact shrunk over the past 10 years at a compound annual rate of 1%.

Without sustained growth beyond the cosmetic effect of share buybacks on earnings per share, Campbell's appeal is tied to low interest rates. That isn't a permanent state of affairs, though, and shareholders may be in for a rude surprise when they get back to normal.

No soup for you!
Comment: Soup Nazi, Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans. My take on CPB: Uber conservative. We have shares in an IRA and have seen some growth. My favorite Campbell's soup is bean with bacon.


The Star Tribune 100

The Star Tribune 100


The Star Tribune 100 is a measure of the largest publicly held companies with headquarters in Minnesota ranked by revenue. Data presented also include each company's total profits from continuing operations, assets and market capitalization (taken on April 13).
Comment: Sortable. 2013 Grads ... a good place to start looking. Stocks I like (and own): GIS, MMM, USB, MDT, UNH, TGT, XEL


Ford E Series Cargo Van

For my little project tomorrow, I rented a Ford E Series Cargo Van. A young friend Ben is coming by at 10:00 a.m. to carry book boxes up from downstairs to load into the van. To be delivered to Pastor Doug up in Otsego. 431 books / 13 boxes. If the weather were less uncertain I would have used my pickup but I don't want to deliver wet books. And not all of the boxes would have fit into one S-10 pickup load. Hence the van rental from Enterprise in Plymouth.


  • This thing is very hard for me to get into. We have a stool here at the house and I'll use that to aid ingress.
  • I thought I would pull it into the garage. I inched forward and made the wise decision to leave it out
  • Egress is a sliding leap of faith .... how far down? ... inch lower and lower .... "one small leap for man" ... "the Eagle has landed"
  • Inside ... completely bare bones.  
  • Brakes ... grabby
  • I will be glad to have my S-10 back tomorrow afternoon

Telecom stocks: Home and abroad

BCE (Bell Canada)


BCE Inc. is Canada's largest communications company, providing a comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Powered by industry-leading investments in media content and broadband networks, Bell services include high-speed Fibe Internet, Fibe TV, Satellite TV, Bell Mobility and Virgin Mobile, Home Phone local and long distance services as well as IP-broadband services and information and communications technology (ICT) services.

Comment: T is my Mother's favorite stock because Dad retired from there with 44 years of service. It's best to not invest emotionally. I like all of these because they basically function like a utility. They pay good dividends and are solid but unexciting. If you are under 50 ... buy the growth stocks like GOOG or AAPL. 

FedEx's hidden arrow - part 2

Part # 1

Comment: This is for Tobin who has poor eyesight :) . How about the Arabic language FedEx logo .... seemed more obvious to me.


FedEx's hidden arrow

FedEx’s hidden arrow, and other visual advertising tricks


You can see either the white arrow or the FedEx letters, but not both at once, because one is always the background to the other.

The current FedEx logo was shortened from the earlier company name Federal Express and given a new snazzy illusory design element, the background arrow between the “E” and the “x.” Did the company shorten the name to reduce the amount of paint needed for signage on its planes and trucks? That explanation makes no sense, unless the painters could use only one font size. Once the name was shorter, they could just paint the letters larger to take up the same space and use about the same amount of paint. In fact, according to Linden Leader, the graphic artist who designed the new logo, the FedEx CEO specifically requested that the logo be easily legible on every truck from five blocks away.

Instead the change resulted from a thorough analysis of the company’s name recognition in the market. Why might the new logo be more effective? One reason is that the arrow, a symbol that has special meaning to our cognitive system, helps to draw attention to the logo as a whole. Arrows indicate what scientists call “implied motion.” Visual neuroscientists Anja Schlack and Thomas Albright of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have shown that neurons that respond preferentially to specific directions of motion in the world are also activated by arrows pointing in the corresponding direction, even though the arrows are not themselves moving but just represent the concept of motion.

The FedEx arrow pointing to the right signifies motion toward the future for those who write in English and other left-to-right languages. Moreover, because our motion areas also have more neurons that prefer cardinal rather than oblique directions, here the arrow invokes a powerful competition with the FedEx name itself, so our perception vacillates between “FedEx” and forward momentum. In languages read right to left, the FedEx arrow points toward the left, such as in the Arabic version of the logo, consistent with the corresponding cognitive representation of time’s arrow.
Comment: Never noticed it!

The Apostrophe Protection Society

Theres a Question Mark Hanging Over the Apostrophes Future - Its Practically Against the Law to Use the Mark in a Places Name; Sorry, Pikes Peak


The Domestic Names Committee of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names doesn't like apostrophes. Visitors to Harpers Ferry or Pikes Peak might not realize it, but anyone aspiring to name a ridge or a swamp after a local hero will soon find out.

In this Adirondack town, pop. 1,219, a move is on to put a mountain on the map in honor of James Cameron, who settled here in 1773. There is some dispute as to which mountain, and whether to call it Jimmy's Peak, Jimmie's Peak or James' Peak. But there is no opposition to the apostrophe—except from the government.

"Without it, Jimmys looks plural, not possessive," Evelyn Wood, Thurman's town supervisor, said one morning upstairs in the Town Hall. She is 35 years old and has a college degree in English. The Domestic Names Committee, citing her "Jimmy's Peak" proposal in a letter, added "[sic]" after each "Jimmy's."

Said Ms. Wood, "They're their '[sics]' not ours."

For punctuation sticklers, this official apostrophe aversion is a sad comment on a useful mark in serious trouble. Apostrophes aren't welcome on the Web (McDonald's  is mcdonalds.com). Banks and druggists ignore them (Barclays,  Walgreens). And they sow signage chaos (Employee's Only; Happy Bosses Day; Blue's Band).
Comment: Who knew there is a Apostrophe Protection Society?!

Statoil (STO)

Statoil Homepage

STO Quote

  • Looks like a smaller "cousin" to say a BP
  • Nice yield of 3.6%
  • Payout ratio of 26%
  • Low P/E of 7
  • I'm thinking about it
  • I added a new image at the top. From Wiki article

On "Secret Plans" to fund the Stadium

Dayton’s “secret plan” on Vikings funding taking shape at Capitol


Governor's 'secret plan' for Vikes stadium funding may be revealed today


The governor’s “secret plan” to replace revenues that were promised through e-pulltabs may be revealed today. At MPR, Tim Nelson reports: “The plan to boost Vikings stadium-bound revenue likely won’t include a sports memorabilia tax. That proposal appears dead. Supporter of the memorabilia proposal House Taxes chair Ann Lenczewski announced at a conference committee meeting that she’d opted to back the governor’s so-called ‘secret’ plan to make up for the shortfall in gambling tax revenues. … [She said], “The (revenue) commissioner will be telling people about that later… The House is going to give up the sports memorabilia approach and support the governor’s approach.” Let’s start a pool … Electronic bake sales? Online keno? Sports cliche bingo?
Comment: It seemed obvious that the Pull-Tabs was a foolish guess

4295 Cottonwood Lane

4295 Cottonwood Lane

Comment: This house was briefly on the market August 2012. The Edina Realty site did not have a picture up today. The image above is from Zillow.

4260 Deerwood LN

4260 Deerwood LN
Comment: 1 street over from ours. Larger than our house + 5th bedroom. Just went on the market this week


Here's the church, here's the steeple...open the giant doors...

Vikings unveil stadium design: What do you think?

These comments basically sum up my view!

Why I like Clorox (CLX)

Clorox Raises Quarterly Dividend to 71 Cents, Beating Estimates


Clorox Co. (CLX), the bleach maker with products ranging from Hidden Valley salad dressing to Glad trash bags, will raise its dividend by 11 percent, higher than analysts estimated.

Why I like it:
  • Brands I know and brands we use: Berts Bees, Hidden Valley Ranch, Glad Bags, etc. (I have a container of Bert's Bees at my desk right now! We never buy the cheapest brand trash bags. Last weekend we used multiple large Glad bags to haul trash up from the basement. We stuffed 'em full! Kathee likewise buys Hidden Valley Ranch products
  • A nice dividend