Notes from a Fool
The Week in Review -- June 19, 1998
by Jerry Thomas (

Greetings Fools,

This is my third week offering these Notes from a Fool(tm), and by now I think I've won the confidence of the folks at Fool HQ who are overseeing my work. The process for crankin' out these pieces is already on automatic pilot, and the Top Dogs and Fool Command & Control have turned their minds to other things. For example, Fool co-founder David Gardner (he's the tall one with the reedy, formica-peeling voice) is convinced that I'm the Internet's answer to Ernest Hemingway (a famous writer), and besides, David is probably too busy deciding which adjective to use the next time he describes Alan Abelson in a Fool Portfolio Recap to care what I might say here. (Imagine David with his hand poised thoughtfully over his laptop as he tries to choose between "ignominious" and "beetle-eyed.")

Meanwhile, brother Thomas Gardner (described in a recent Worth magazine article as "a younger, heavier, balder version of David") is knee deep in his own obsessions, presiding over the Cash-King Portfolio like a Napoleon in golf slacks. This week the Cash-King has been running an election to pick the next addition to the portfolio. Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) has won the face-off, handily beating runner-up General Electric (NYSE: GE). The formal buy report comes Monday.

So, given the preoccupations of the guys in charge, I've got free reign over this space. Nobody's watching, and I can pretty much get away with anything. I bet I could even sneak an entire paragraph of gibberish into this piece and my editors at HQ won't even notice.

Belt buckle meatball sandwich elbow grease tweezer spray ointment nozzle freshness wipe hallelujah albacore toontown hemp salad shetland pony flannel wetsuit asparagus pants wax paper.

Yep. Asleep at the wheel.

To tell the truth, I'm astonished to no end that I work for The Motley Fool at all, considering that I have no marketable skills to speak of, aside from those that might land me an entry-level position in the lucrative Let a Vagrant Clean Your Windshield at the Stoplight for a Quarter industry. I would much prefer to be one of the smart TMF writers, like Louis Corrigan (aka TMF Seymor), who can actually tell the difference between a cash flow statement and a hole in the ground. In Wednesday's Evening News , Louis turned in another one of his routinely outstanding reports, this time examining the eccentric money manager Manuel Asensio, who likes to make, to use Louis's phrase, "bold public calls on crappy companies trading at ridiculous valuations." I well remember Asensio's manic rants over the late, lamentable Diana Corporation back in 1996... This time he's after Chromatics Color Sciences International (Nasdaq: CCSI). Click the link and Louis explains it all for you.

Another highlight of this past week was our Dueling Fools feature with Rick Munarriz (TMF Edible) and Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena) debating over socially responsible investing. Some folks think ethics are a luxury the savvy investor cannot afford, while others argue that the free market is exactly where we should be making our voices heard. Rick and Selena go toe-to-toe in this entertaining debate. Frankly, I'm a bit miffed over this whole thing, because I suggested some brilliant socially responsible titles for the feature, but for some reason they were all rejected:

�Altruism: What a Rip-Off
�Be Mean, Get Green: The Secrets of Ebeneezer Investing
�Are Oily Pelicans a Buy Signal?
�How to Profit from the Coming Bad Vibes

Oh well. No accounting for taste. Especially my own. In that vein, it's probably lucky that I had absolutely nothing to do with what was probably the Fribble of the week, a piece entitled "Cheap Apartments with Bats," penned by Fool reader Guy Nerad. Guy's own experience with luxury living gives us all a great lesson in frugality.

Author Geoffrey Moore had already secured a place in the investing world's limelight with his insightful book, Crossing the Chasm, which explains the struggles high-tech companies face when trying to turn their innovations into mass-market products. But his latest work, The Gorilla Game, has generated an even more ardent following. This week Fool Al Levit examined the book in detail in a several-part Cash-King Portfolio special report. "Gorilla" companies are those that dominate their industries and dictate the terms under which those who dare to compete with them must play. How closely does Moore's method correlate with the Cash-King's own approach to investing? Al will tell you, Fool.

Holy jumpin' Nico-Rama: Some Fools have greatness thrust upon them, and this week it was Nico Detourn (aka TMF Nico), who penned both Friday's Post of the Day (on Infoseek's imminent union with Disney) and Wednesday's Fool Portfolio Recap , which examined AT&T's (NYSE: T) rebuffed offer to purchase America Online (NYSE: AOL). Both links are worth your clicks.

Finally, you should be reminded that Sunday is Father's Day. I don't have kids myself, though I'd like to, some day. (All of my ancestors had children, so it's kind of a family tradition.) In celebration of fathers everywhere, we offer our annual Stocks for Dad selection. This year twelve different Fools suggest stocks they wouldn't be afraid to see their fathers own. Some of the companies named will be familiar to you, such as TMF Jeff's (Nasdaq: AMZN), or TMF RFK's Washington Post (NYSE: WPO). Others are more obscure companies you might have overlooked. What's this 800 Travel Systems (Nasdaq: IFLY) thing that TMF 2Aruba is suggesting??

That's all for now, Fools. If you're in Atlanta or Los Angeles, don't forget to tune into The Motley Fool Radio Show on Saturday...

Until next week,
Fool on!


Any questions or comments about this new product? Send them on to us at

Not enough links for ya? Then try FoolWatch for a comprehensive listing of new features.


Get a Broker
Open an IRA
File Your Taxes
Get a Mortgage
Refinance Your Mortgage