The Week in Review -- November 19, 1999

The Markets

  11/12 Close 11/19 Close Change %Change
DJIA 10,769.01 11,003.89 +234.88 +2.18
S&P 500 1,395.34 1,422.00 +26.66 +1.91
Nasdaq 3,220.89 3,369.25 +148.36 +4.61

Top News Stories of the Week

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Offline Folly
by Jerry Thomas (TMF Cheeze)

Greetings, Fools.

I've been mostly offline for two weeks now, logging on only sporadically to check my e-mail. You know what? I barely even missed cyberspace, despite the way I gush over its innovations and possibilities in this space almost weekly. It turns out that the new medium isn't as essential to my heartbeat, brain waves, and blood flow as I've come to think of it since I first got wired almost five years ago. Last Friday's Fribble by "tallships" describes the perils of letting yourself be mesmerized by the wacky little box sitting on your desktop -- an especially dangerous trap if you're a long-term investor.

But never mind that. My job is to give you links, and that I will do --�but this time I will do it with an eye for the many ways you can participate in the world of Fooldom without those pesky ISP charges. Like earlier this month, while vacationing in Wisconsin, when I met with some Fools the old-fashioned way: face-to-face, with handshakes and smiles. These were Fools with screen names like strnr, foolwidloot, and AstridS, who I first encountered on our Folly in Wisconsin message board. We met in a Thai restaurant one Tuesday night on the east side of Milwaukee, communicating by exercising our vocal cords rather than our keyboards.

You might not believe it, but the good ol' larynx still works just fine in this high tech age. And Wisconsin Fools aren't the only ones experimenting with this method -- one group in Orange County has been meeting monthly for almost a year now, arranging their get-togethers on our Folly in California message board. I expect that offline meetings of Fools will happen more frequently as our message boards become more popular -- perhaps you can place yourself in the vanguard of that movement by striving to make new connections with Fools in your area by exploring our Folly in the 50 States message boards.

Wednesday's Fribble describes yet another way Fools can get together offline: at the many investment conferences held at convention centers around the country. Fool co-Poobahs David and Tom Gardner are frequent keynoters at these events, and, as Howie Smith explains in this Fribble, these events are frequently the occasion for live broadcasts of The Motley Fool Radio Show, which is syndicated nationally around the country, and which just happens to be yet another way you can indulge in Folly while away from the computer. (This week's guests include Vanguard mutual fund genius John Bogle. Tune in and Fool on!)

Of course, you're aware of The Motley Fool's presence in the print media -- Motley Fool books are routine bestsellers. Try our latest: The Motley Fool's Investment Tax Guide 2000. You might not also be aware that the Fool's syndicated newspaper column is appearing weekly in over 150 newspapers across the United States. This week Fools who have not yet seen it can finally get a sample of what they've been missing -- we've collected some of the best of that column in a new Fools in Newsprint Special. You can also check online to see if the column is appearing in a newspaper in your area (and if it's not, give your local editor a shout).

It might even be argued that Folly existed even before there was such a thing as cyberspace. As we move toward the close of this century, we've assembled a Profiles of the Century Special in which a group of 70+ Fools tell us who they think are the most influential people of the last 100 years. We're also profiling individuals who have lived for most of the 20th Century and who can therefore offer special insight into where we've been. Check out our riveting interview there with Joan Rose, whose adventures in the century we are about to conclude might tell us something about where we're going in the next.

During my sojourn away from the Fool (hey, even Cheeze is entitled to a vacation now and then), the world did not sit still, and TMF remained, in spite of its many offline enterprises, emphatically a dotcom. While I was out, a judge found that Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) is indeed, as a matter of fact, a monopoly -- an issue still in much contention even after the ruling. More to the point, at least for investors, remains the question whether or not Microsoft is still a company worth owning. That makes it a ripe topic for this week's Dueling Fools feature -- Fool Matt Richey (TMF Verve) likes the Redmond behemoth, while Richard McCaffery (TMF Gibson) takes a more bearish stance. And for an insightful look at the judges ruling, check out Thursday's Fool on the Hill commentary by Bill Barker (TMF Max).

Also, let me plug a couple of standout pieces this week. First, check out Jeff Fischer (TMF Jeff) in Wednesday's Drip Report, where he argues that the old investing maxim "buy what you know" is too simplistic. Also dip into Wednesday's Rule Breaker, where David Gardner examines the risks and rewards of volatility.

Finally, let me give a tip of the ol' Fool's cap to Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible), who picked up my slack by filling in for me these past two weeks. Rick, I owe you one, bud!

Until next week,
Fool on!


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