The Week in Review -- November 6, 1998
by Jerry "The Body" Thomas ([email protected])
America is a land of infinite possibilities. If you have any doubt of that, then you still have not heard the results of last Tuesday's Minnesota gubernatorial election. Jesse "the Body" Ventura, late of Hollywood by way of the World Wrestling Federation, has been elected governor of The Gopher State, Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Believe me, I understand the compulsion. I come from Wisconsin, which is exactly like Minnesota, only with better football. Professional wrestlers in that part of the world enjoy a status that ranks them high in the social order, somewhere between a retired police chief and a sitting Vice President. I can testify with complete confidence that Wisconsin's favorite wrestler, Da Crusher, could have been elected mayor of Cudahy any time he felt like putting down his medicine ball long enough to campaign. So while it would be surpassingly easy for me to cram these Notes full of not-so-subtle digs at our friends up north, I will instead use this occasion to pose a pointed question: If a guy who used to make his living in a pink leotard while faking hammerlocks and forearm smashes can reach his dreams, what's stopping you from achieving yours?
There's a Foolish lesson in Ventura's victory: Don't let them tell you it can't be done.
If there is a heavyweight wrestling champion in Fooldom, it's the Fool Portfolio, which busted through to new highs this week, breaking above 70% returns year-to-date. (How bizarre -- weren't we in a bear market a couple of weeks ago?) As heady as such numbers are, modesty demands that we admit that no such return can be sustained indefinitely. Even more to the point, the Fool Portfolio represents only one of the many approaches to investing explored around the clock in Fooldom. There is a whole array of portfolios standing shoulder to shoulder with us, each representing a different approach to investing, each emphasizing a different aspect of the Fool investment philosophy. Among the glories of the past seven days: Wednesday's Cash-King Report, by Phil Weiss examines the give and take that must take place when two people invest within a marriage. All of these portfolios, however, exist primarily as educational tools in our efforts to maximize our returns and lead astonishing lives.
And how many writers do you know who can go from hammerlocks and forearm smashes to the meaning of life in the space of one paragraph? Well?
Let me sidestep that question by moving on to those two Foolish Wrestlemaniacs, Louis Corrigan (TMF Seymor) and Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena). Louis, as has often been demonstrated, has a passion for exposing the dubious ways of the Wise. This week he turns the floodlights on the managers of endowments and their use of hedge funds. Alas, must a Fool always sigh deeply when turning his gaze toward Wall Street? Or can we, like Selena suggests in her Fribble this week, hope for some new frankness and plainness of speech to emerge from that troubled quarter? I'm doubtful, but Selena gives some cause for hope.
Selena (and pardon my chutzpah for saying so) deserves special kudos for her patient efforts in producing an impressive number of Fribbles over the months and years. She's even merited her own Fribble Archive page, a complete listing of her fribblous output -- perfect for whiling away a quiet hour on a Saturday afternoon. Perhaps this Saturday afternoon?
Since we mentioned the Land of 10,000 Lakes, why not also mention the Land of 10,000 Lattes? This month's Fool Book Pick is from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. Jeff Fischer (TMF Jeff) reviews Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, which, I gather, is the tender, heartwarming tale of a boy and his espresso machine. Read the review and learn a bit about how success in business happens.
Before I go, let me wish Governor-elect Ventura (boy that sounds weird) every success in his new job. I know nothing of his politics or of his political platform, but his victory proves that -- surprise -- we really do live in a democracy. Anybody can get elected. And for someone like me, who asks nothing more of his government but that it be entertaining, this is truly an exciting development.
Good luck, Minnesota. Wisconsin will always be there for you.
Until next week,