ALEXANDRIA, VA (Dec. 28, 1999) -- A missed plane, a car that won't start, a missed train, a day that lingers long. A conspiracy of events can leave you in limbo. You're supposed to be getting somewhere at the time, but you aren't.

The Drip Port is in a different sort of limbo. In a fast-paced country (the United States) where anything less than taking action is seen as inaction (an incorrect assumption), the Drip Port, which hasn't announced a new buy since September of 1998, might be seen as zombie-like. In reality, though, we're getting where we want to go, presumably, steadily but surely. Even without taking new action.

We are in investing limbo, and we're happy to be here. Investing limbo doesn't mean that we're not invested how we want to be invested. For the most part, we are. Investing limbo simply means (and serves to remind) that much of investing is waiting. Waiting represents our investing limbo, and we're happy to be in it. We buy a small piece of a company and we wait for it to appreciate in value as the underlying business grows. Growing a multi-billion dollar business takes time. We know this. We're patient. Value is not created from thin air, despite what today's Initial Public Offering (IPO) marketplace might tell you. (Much of the "value" created on the stock market from hot IPOs won't last; none of it will last if the underlying companies don't perform up to it.)

Although the Nasdaq National Market is up 80% this year (and perhaps for good reason, including a second technological revolution), it won't continue to rise like this if companies don't eventually live up to expectations and support valuations with net income. The flood of new companies on the market this year is dominated by firms that are living on venture capital funds. Few young public companies today are profitable. This is a large change from the past. In the past, a company was typically profitable for several quarters straight before it would move to the public market. Today, companies are jumping straight from venture capital funds to public market funds, profitable or not. When the easy venture capital and public market money eventually dries up, firms that are still unprofitable are going to dry up, too, and their stocks will as well, even if a company is called ".com" something or other.

So, while all around us this year stocks have risen and fallen like airplanes and bombs (interestingly, more stocks have fallen than risen this year on the market), Drip Port is chugging along steadily. We're keeping up with our investments and we're looking for new ones that match our criteria. We're also going to start considering companies without direct investment plans, using new low-cost, online buying programs instead.

Although the Nasdaq market absolutely slaughtered our return this year (and all the other Fool portfolios, too), we're not competing against it -- but more importantly, we're aiming for a long-term return that matches our goal, and that means staying focused on our companies, and competing with the S&P 500.

Investing limbo might mean staying the course whatever is going on around you as long as you continue to believe in your companies. For direct investors with limited funds to invest each month, this is typically the only possible course of action anyway. That situation is, in many ways, good. It keeps us focused. As 2000 rolls in, we'll continue to focus on maximizing our long-term return by investing in leading companies that we understand, and by investing at low cost. We feel that we're taking advantage of the technology revolution happening around us by owning Intel, and we will aim to take greater advantage of the changing world, if possible, with our future investments.

A reminder: last week we sent $50 to both Intel and Johnson & Johnson for our early January investment.