Fool Portfolio Report
Thursday, July 24, 1997
by Tom Fischer (tfischer@rain.fr)


PARIS, FRANCE (July 24, 1997) -- Hello, dear Fools. This Foolish thought is coming to you from Paris, France. Les freres Gardner are temporarily out of the office, and faithful Fool Jeff Fischer has lightened his workload by sending some of it my way. So, although the Gardner brothers aren't here this week, in their honor, the recap is still being brought to you by a couple of Foolish brothers, albeit with a different last name.

To begin, I must recount this brief tale: Last weekend, my wife and I were riding the metro into the center of the city, when at the Bastille stop a drunk vagrant tumbled into the car, and noisily settled himself into the seat opposite us, grumbling between gulps from his bottle of cheap red stuff.

One stop later, a well-dressed young family had the misfortune of choosing our car as well, and they quietly installed themselves around us and our incomprehensible alcoholically-challenged rider.

The drunken man somehow realized that an innocent, cute four-year-old boy was sitting at the next seat over, and he did what any child-adoring adult would do -- he attempted to communicate with him. The child, a little nervous from the unwanted attention, hid himself as best he could in the armpit of his protective father. After a couple more stops, our intoxicated metro companion had decided that a visit to the museum was in order, and he stumbled off the train at the Louvre stop, accompanied by a sigh of relief from the boy's mother.

Once the train started going again, the boy said in perfect little-kid French (something I still can't do correctly): "Il ne sait pas ce qu'il dit, le monsieur-la" -- meaning, "That monsieur there doesn't know what he's saying."

So, gentle reader, consider this little story a warning: If you catch me or anyone (especially my stock-hyping brother) trying to force you to buy a stock, remember the little boy's words.

With that said, and with my younger brother's promise of a cool 1000 shares of Iomega if I write this thing, I'll steadily continue.

With the aim of writing something from overseas that offered an original insight into the Motley Fool's philosophy, I thought that I should tell the true story of a whip-cracking, pin-juggling American cowboy who was raised by his fortune-telling gypsy mother and then kicked out of his father's circus due to lack of any talent, whom I met when he woke me out of a nap I was taking on the Champ de Mars just under the Eiffel Tower. But I realized that -- while the story is incredibly valuable in teaching the Foolish philosophy -- it's just too long.

So, instead of that quirky fellow, let's turn our attention to the Notre Dame cathedral of Paris. This masterpiece of French Gothic Architecture took 180 years to build, and since completion has been under nearly constant restoration.

I can imagine that back in the year 1163, when the cornerstones were just being placed, critics walked around the Ile de la Cite, sneering, repeating to anyone who would listen, "Why use stone?! The world has been ending since the year 1000 AD, the apocalypse is going to hit anytime now, and they're using STONE to build this cathedral? It's going to take at least a century before they put the roof on that thing! If I were in charge of the construction, I'd use wood! Fast, portable, cheap -- and it does the job!"

Fortunately for us architecture enthusiasts, Bishop Maurice de Sully was Foolish enough to know that stone had a good reputation as a solid building material, and one that would last through the ages and be appreciated much later on.

This is not to say that the Cathedral hasn't had its problems -- it's experienced fires, had its statues' heads chopped off during the revolution, and had fallen into disrepair. In fact, it took Victor Hugo and his Disney film (uh, I mean book) to create a renewed interest in the cathedral in order to save it from destruction and to start a large restoration project under the 19th century architect Violet-le-Duc. Under his Foolish direction the cathedral was cleaned up and revitalised into the priceless architectural treasure that we know today.

What does all this have to do with the Motley Fool's philosophy of investing with an eye on the long term? What does it have to do with basing a portfolio on solid companies, avoiding risky short-term buys and gimmicks (like today's recap), and not selling in a panic from some fleeting bad news and slight damage? And finally, what does it have to do with watching and maintaining the portfolio when it does need attention? What does it have to do with all of that?

I'm not so sure. Perhaps in 800 years we'll see the connection between the two, but for right now, it's very near midnight in Paris, meaning that it's nearly Friday, and before the clock chimes twelve I want to send out this final message that was sent to me:

David and Tom wish to congratulate their father, whose 60th birthday is today. Paul Gardner, their father, pointed out this afternoon that the market's 52-week low was last July 24th, his 59th. Today, on his 60th, the market closed at an all-time high. So he assured his sons, that things do get better with age.

Perhaps the riddle of this recap is solved in Mr. Gardner's statement, as well.

--Tom Fischer, Fool in France

( P.S. I'll be here waiting for those 1000 shares of Iomega from my brother...)

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TODAY'S NUMBERS
Stock Change Bid ---------------- AOL -1 3/4 65.25 T - 1/16 35.63 ATCT --- 4.19 CHV + 1/8 76.88 DJT + 3/16 10.56 GM - 11/16 58.31 INVX + 5/8 32.50 IOM - 3/4 21.75 KLAC +2 5/16 63.69 LU - 3/8 84.88 MMM -213/16 95.63 COMS -1 3/16 56.63
Day Month Year History FOOL -1.21% 8.66% 14.59% 205.82% S&P: +0.40% 6.23% 26.94% 105.12% NASDAQ: +0.09% 8.81% 21.54% 117.88% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 7.27 65.25 797.52% 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2.52 21.75 763.10% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 84.88 78.25% 8/11/95 125 Chevron 50.28 76.88 52.88% 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 65.68 95.63 45.60% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 63.69 42.44% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 56.63 20.84% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 32.50 17.29% 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 51.97 58.31 12.20% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 35.63 -9.99% 4/30/97 -1170 *Trump* 8.47 10.56 -24.72% 10/22/96 600 ATC Comm. 22.94 4.19 -81.74% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 2581.87 23163.75 $20581.88 5/17/95 980 Iomega Cor 2594.53 21315.00 $18720.47 8/11/95 125 Chevron 6285.61 9609.38 $3323.77 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 7224.44 10518.75 $3294.31 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 8279.38 $2466.89 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11714.99 14156.25 $2441.26 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 14552.49 16327.50 $1775.01 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 3564.75 $1564.87 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 10562.50 $1556.88 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 4631.25 -$513.86 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -12358.13 -$2449.63 10/22/96 600 ATC Comm. 13761.50 2512.50-$11249.00 CASH $40625.59 TOTAL $152908.47