The Deipnosophist

Where the science of investing becomes an art of living

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Location: Summerlin, Nevada, United States

A private investor for 20+ years, I manage private portfolios and write about investing. You can read my market musings on three different sites: 1) The Deipnosophist, dedicated to teaching the market's processes and mechanics; 2) Investment Poetry, a subscription site dedicated to real time investment recommendations; and 3) Seeking Alpha, a combination of the other two sites with a mix of reprints from this site and all-original content. See you here, there, or the other site!

29 June 2011

How to select stocks for portfolio success

Migawd, but this Wall Street Journal op/ed essay is hilarious!

"... My point is that I hate Apple. I hate that I irrationally crave their products, I hate their emotional control over my entire family, I hate the time I waste trying to make iTunes work, I hate how they manipulate my desires, I hate their closed systems, I hate Steve Jobs's black turtlenecks, and I hate that they call their store employees Geniuses which, as far as I can tell, is actually true. My point is that I wish I had bought stock in Apple five years ago when I first started hating them. But I hate them more every day, which is a positive sign for investing, so I'll probably buy some shares."

Who knew Scott Adams (Dilbert) is so funny? :-)
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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25 June 2011

res ipsa loquitur

Texting while driving...

-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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24 June 2011

Nine Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime

A doff of my cap to Harvey Abraham for sharing the information below!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

Whether these changes will prove good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come...

1. The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. Post offices are deep in financial trouble, arguably unsustainably so. Email, FedEx, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of the mail is junk mail (catalogues, etc) and bills.

2. The Cheque
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque... which plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition, which just might go the way of the milkman. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes

6. Music
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death -- and not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with; older, established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" That You Own
Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They might simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system; so, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.


18 June 2011

Something to Chew On

Take this fun (and brief) pop quiz, so you "do not gross out the world."
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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17 June 2011

Japan: three months after the quake

Many startling, if not eye-popping, photos that reveal the truly Herculean task* the Japanese clean-up crews faced... and deal with.

The side-by-side (then and now) photos are inspiring!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

*Akin to Hercules' cleaning of the Augean stables, in my fanciful interpretation.

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16 June 2011

Life is for the Living

A new song, and inspiring video, from the Ryan Michaels Band...

Hey, I would still like the song even were Ryan not a friend!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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08 June 2011

Introducing: Creative Genius On-the-Go!

A good friend and fantastic artist, Marty Safir - along with his wife and partner, Marjorie Sarnat - have developed a mobile app for the iPhone and iPod touch, called Creative Genius On-the-Go!

Creative Genius On-the-Go!
offers a fun creative thinking tool for busy parents who love to engage their children in imaginative enrichment activities. It's a convenient way to provide open-ended creativity for young minds with 150 quick and fun challenges, diversions, and scenarios that can be played anytime, anywhere.

★ 50 What Ifs? - prompts the player to describe how the impossible may be possible
★ 50 Imagine That! - mind-stretching challenges that boost brainpower and zap boredom
★ 50 Wack-tivities - silly and fun diversions to get the creative juices flowing

It's received nice reviews so far. It is meant for children but appeals to "kids" of all ages.

If you have an iPhone or iPod touch and you're so inclined, please download the app (it's 99c), and, importantly, please rate it. This is very helpful because with the hundreds of thousands of apps available, the only way to raise its visibility in the app store is with a fresh stream of high ratings.

iTunes App Store link for more info and for purchasing

Pricing and Availability
Introductory price of only 99c

Additional Notes for the Curious
The activities are in the form of short, written prompts that children can play independently or with a friend or sibling. It also affords a great opportunity to have lively interaction together with the parent. These were all written by the highly prolific and creative mind of Marjorie -- there's no stopping her creative output. Marty developed the graphics and designed and oversaw development of the user interface.

I know that Marjorie and Marty will appreciate your support.

Thank you!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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3 1/2 months later...

Wow, time sure flies!

Okay, I could offer all manner of excuses and (even good) reasons for my disappearance, but none would change the fact that 3 1/2 months have lapsed since my last post.

I regret my absence, offer my sincere apology, and vow to return to (posting) form. Watch for new posts soon!
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist


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