Fool Portfolio Report
Monday, April 22, 1996

by Erik Rydholm (MF Fletch)

ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 22, 1996 -- "Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again."

When sportswriter Red Smith penned the preceeding paragraph back in 1951, he was describing Bobby Thomson's ninth-inning home run that lifted the old New York Giants past the Brooklyn Dodgers and into the World Series.

So what's it doing in the Fool Portfolio Report? Well, first of all, it seems appropriate. Today's 4.33% gain borders on lunacy. Second of all, Tom and David are out in Utah tonight, and I've been called in from the pen to hurl tonight's report. Problem is, I'm the one guy in Fool HQ who knows almost nothing about stocks. I do, however, know a bit about Red Smith, and that will just have to do.

Smith once wrote, "I've always had the notion that people go to spectator sports to have fun and then they grab the paper to read about it and have fun again." And isn't that the purpose of this column? After all, we all know that Iomega soared another $4 today to an all-time closing high of $41 1/8. Still, it's almost difficult to believe that stock quote. Just like the incredulous fans who witnessed Thomson's miracle home run, you want to validate it by foisting the news upon anyone who will listen---your unfortunate co-workers, the poor guy who slaps together your sandwich, the luckless lady who delivers the mail. But all you get back is a slight nod, a thin smile, an occasional look of concern.

Well you've arrived at the proper spot. We're beaming along with you, and we understand your joy. Red Smith deplored what his editor called the "Godding up of ballplayers," though he admitted that most of the time, he really couldn't avoid it. Amen. The fervor surrounding IOMG has reached near-religious levels in this forum. In fact, a good three score Fools (including Tom & David) have made the pilgrimage to Roy, Utah for tomorrow's shareholders' meeting. We'll have a full report on what they see and hear on the main screen tomorrow. Expect the description of Iomega CEO Kim Edwards to sound something like Smith's play-by-play of Dizzy Dean pitching: "They whooped when he rubbed resin on his hands. They yowled when he fired a strike past a batter. They stood and yelled when he lounged to the plate, trailing his bat in the dust. And when, in the seventh inning, with the game already won by eight runs, he hit a meaningless single, the roar that thundered from the stands was as though he had accomplished the twelve labors of Hercules."

Things are comparatively quiet in the home of our other star slugger, America Online. For a while there, ol' AMER was beginning to look downright stodgy. But after last week's $7 1/2 climb, AMER popped another $3 today. No news. America Online reports earnings after the bell on May 9th. Nothing else in the Fool Port moved more than 1/2 point.

Red Smith wrote that "The guy I admire most in the world is a good reporter, and I'd like to be called that. The reporter has one of the toughest jobs in the world---getting as near the truth as possible is a terribly tough job." And so, we close tonight's report by brandishing some truth.

The truth is, the Fool Portfolio may never have another day like this.

The truth is, we're still only trying to match our stated goal -- to outperform the market by 10 percentage points each year.

And the truth is, David Gardner wrote in this space on Friday that "I hope you won't think we're actually this good, because, dear Fool, no one is."

Unfortunately, the truth also is that many people believe we CAN do this year after year. Maybe it's you. Maybe it's not. Maybe it's that co-worker, that sandwich guy, or that mail lady. Maybe they write themselves a mental note to hit you up for a stock tip the next time through. Do them a favor. Head on over to "Investing Foolishly" and print for them the 13 Steps to Getting Started. Give them that instead.

As the ridiculous results mount in this portfolio, it's easy to ignore the lessons and look for the picks. It's easy to see it not as a one-time shot -- as Thomson's miracle homer -- but rather as a track record to be eclipsed year after year. Which brings us back to a Red Smith column about Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four-minute mile. "Since man dropped out of a tree and took off with a saber-toothed tiger on his heels," Smith wrote, "No pedestrian had traveled 5,280 feet in four minutes." But twenty-five years later, the record was getting one-upped daily. That's when Smith recounted the tale of a friend, who "was in a taxi with a colleague and they were discussing the runners and their times. The cabbie spoke up: 'Anything that starts with four,' he said, 'is slow.'"

Perspective, Fools, perspective.

Now it is done. Now the story ends.

TODAY'S OTHER FOOLISH THING: FoolFax is getting ready to make its debut. Featuring valuations of all sorts, on lots of companies, it's a great research tool. For more information, send an E*mail to FoolFax.

Transmitted: 4/22/96 7:02 PM

Today's Numbers

Day Month Year History FOOL +4.33% 18.59% 50.72% 181.44% S&P 500 +0.44% 0.37% 5.19% 41.34% NASDAQ +1.30% 4.73% 9.63% 60.17% AMER +3...AMAT - 1/8 ...CHV ---...GE + 3/8 ... GPS - 1/8 ...IOMG +4...KLAC ---...MDRX - 1/2 ...S - 1/2 ... Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 7.27 62.50 759.36% 5/17/95 1005 Iomega Cor 5.04 41.13 716.31% 8/5/94 165 Sears 28.93 50.88 75.88% 4/20/95 310 The Gap 16.28 27.63 69.74% 8/11/95 95 GenElec 57.91 79.50 37.27% 8/11/95 110 Chevron 49.00 55.75 13.78% 1/29/96 250 Medicis Ph 27.86 27.50 -1.29% 8/24/95 100 AppldMatl 57.52 37.13 -35.46% 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 44.71 27.00 -39.61% Rec'd # Security Cost Value Change 8/5/94 680 AmOnline 4945.56 42500.00 $37554.44 8/24/95 100 AppldMatl 5752.49 3712.50 -$2039.99 5/17/95 1005 Iomega Cor 5063.13 41330.63 $36267.50 8/5/94 165 Sears 4772.65 8394.38 $3621.73 4/20/95 310 The Gap 5045.25 8563.75 $3518.50 8/11/95 95 GenElec 5501.87 7552.50 $2050.63 8/11/95 110 Chevron 5389.99 6132.50 $742.51 1/29/96 250 Medicis Ph 6964.99 6875.00 -$89.99 8/24/95 130 KLA Instrm 5812.49 3510.00 -$2302.49 CASH $12147.13 TOTAL $140718.38