Flintstone Friday
...plus, a Coca-Cola contest

by Jeff Fischer (TMFJeff@aol.com)

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Nov. 6, 1998) -- We end the week with a contest.

If you know who wrote the following quote and in what novel it appeared, and if you're the first to e-mail the correct answer to me, you'll win a free share of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO). Not only will you win the free share, but your share will be enrolled in Coke's dividend reinvestment plan for you.

Your educated guess on the author and novel responsible for the following quote must be received by Sunday at noon ET. It can't be accepted afterwards. Please e-mail your answer to my address above. Here's the quote. Ready? You sure? Here it is:

"A thousand years makes economics silly and a work of art endures forever..."

Think hard, Fools. (Fool employees aren't eligible for this contest, by the way. Ha!)

The quote arises because Wednesday a group of Fools and I ran off to beautiful Washington D.C. to view the Vincent van Gogh exhibit. Imagine several rooms filled with only van Gogh's paintings from all periods of his life. Okay, you just imagined the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. But now imagine it transplanted to Washington. That's essentially what we saw: Amsterdam's Van Gogh museum in Washington. My retinas are still burning from the colors.

The quote above doesn't have anything to do with Vincent van Gogh, by the way, but TMF NoClue wanted someone to mention our van Gogh expedition, perhaps to prove again that we all have lives outside of finance. (Being Fools, was there ever any doubt?) In order to relate the whole thing back to finance, however -- ta da -- our Coca-Cola contest. Good luck, Fools.

Flintstone Friday. Even during the Stone Age, oil was under the earth, aching to be exploited. "And from the earth both oil and gas arose," said the man from Texas in the spurs.

This week we asked you to share your knowledge about the oil and gas industry and its leading companies -- and also to post which companies you'd most like us to study. And "post" you did. We're still counting the votes and investigating the companies you listed to ascertain that they indeed have DRPs. Early next week we'll share the finalized list of companies that we'll subsequently butcher... err, analyze.

We have been asking you to post like mad since Monday. On that day, we also did housekeeping regarding Mellon Bank (NYSE: MEL). Our initial share was listed in our daily numbers this week, but please note that we still need to deduct the $15 purchase fee for the stock from the portfolio's numbers. The delay is because we're not certain yet if we'll add the fee to the stock's cost basis or subtract it from the portfolio overall, as we've done in the past. We might add all of these fees to our cost-bases instead. It won't change the Drip Portfolio's return, and it's a minor but worthwhile distinction. More on this in a timely manner -- even though we aren't selling anything for decades and so how we allocate this expense (tax-wise) is hardly urgent.

On Tuesday, we continued harassing you to post because 1) we want to learn as much as possible (all of us, I presume) and 2) we need all of the help we can get. On Wednesday, we listed the companies that you'd like us to study and we asked for even more. Yes, more! Next, Thursday was the best Drip column of the week, I'd say. Brian wrote about Mellon Bank's strategy after speaking with the company's head of investor relations, Don MacCleod. If you own Mellon, give it a gander.

Also potentially of interest to Drip readers this week was the Motley Fool's Dueling Fools feature on Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ). Brian "the gas thief" and I "the Starbucks thug" took off our surgical gloves for this ugly battle.

And, oh -- by the way -- in searching the Web I found a new Miami Herald article about J&J's stent business. I will link to the article right now only because it supports my argument that J&J is moving fast to regain market share in stents by introducing several new products. If you own J&J, consider visiting the article.

Next week, put on your worst overalls and your rubber boots. Next week our oil and gas exploration begins!

Fool on!


FoolWatch -- It's what's going on at the Fool today.

11/06/98 Close

Stock Close Change CPB 55 7/8 - 5/8 INTC 95 7/16 +1 7/16 JNJ 81 15/16 + 1/4 MEL 62 15/16 - 3/4
Day Month Year History Drip 0.44% 4.55% 21.88% 3.79% S&P 500 0.63% 3.85% 17.58% 19.94% Nasdaq 1.06% 4.81% 18.23% 16.49% Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Current 09/02/98 8.027 CPB $52.867 $55.875 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $80.238 $95.438 10/07/98 7.850 JNJ $71.405 $81.938 10/07/98 1.000 MEL $48.560 $62.938 Last Rec'd Total # Security In At Value Change 09/02/98 8.027 CPB $424.36 $448.51 $24.15 09/01/98 9.727 INTC $780.50 $928.35 $147.85 10/07/98 7.850 JNJ $560.53 $643.21 $82.68 10/07/98 1.000 MEL $48.56 $62.94 $14.38 Base: $2100.00 Cash: $237.52** Total: $2320.53

The Drip Portfolio has been divided into 89.430 shares with an average purchase price of $23.482 per share.

The portfolio began with $500 on July 28, 1997, adds $100 on the 1st of every month, and the goal is to have $150,000 in stock by August of the year 2017.

**Transactions in progress:
10/24/98: Sent $40 to buy more INTC.
10/26/98: Sending $60 to buy more JNJ.