MIAMI, FL (September 1, 1999) -- Forget the conspiracy theorists who would have you believe that I've peppered tonight's recap with some cryptic messages. This time I'm playing it straight. Really. I'm tightening up my necktie, breaking into my anchor voice, and readying myself to give you all the news you can defuse and nothing but.

Once in a while, I've been told, a sinister streak may shoot through me. Is Wall Street Weak a typo or a jab? If financial magazine Fore brands some of our content "idiotic," am I obliged to add the two letters to complete its name that also went into the analysis? I can list the things I don't like to do. Fish. Fly. Wade. Cook. Am I being genuine about my uninterests or am I a bored thorn casting stones at glass houses?

Only I know for sure. And, to be honest, even I don't know sometimes. Fool a ton? That's me, backwards. I'm ringing the dinner bell of ire from folks who want more sense in tonight's dissection. I apologize. I digress. I regress. There's a market day to break down and I'm ready to dig in. Not aloof? That's me, backwards.

Let's see. The Rule Breaker collection lost 1.4% of its value today. The general market rose, the S&P 500 up 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite 0.4% higher, but our Internet holdings went the other way this trading day.

Foolish Four member Goodyear Tire (NYSE: GT) is rolling along nicely, however, with the stock up 7% over the last two days. After losing market dominance to Bridgestone and Michelin through the years, it regained the pole position today. How could Goodyear lap its two largest competitors, overnight? An alliance with Sumitomo -- in which Goodyear becomes an investor in the Japanese tiremaker while acquiring European and North American rights to Sumitomo's Dunlop line -- went into effect today. In the process, sales for the new king of the road are expected to climb by 20% in the year ahead. That will provide some welcome relief to shareholders who saw sales dip last year. Then again, 1998's pit stop was the reason the stock was cheap enough to make the Foolish Four cut in the first place.

Oh, before I forget, don't get all tense when you see (Nasdaq: AMZN) trading around $60 tomorrow morning. It splits, again, tonight. There's no mystery to the 2-for-1 deal. For every share you owned today you'll have two at half the price each tomorrow.

Really. It's that simple. Usually we find some of our Foolish friends out there a bit bedazzled when a stock splits. They get floored with data overload. If you buy after the record date, but before the equity dividend is distributed, are you out half your money? No. If you sell after the record date, but before the stock price is adjusted, did you just double your money? No. Sneaky dog. But, well, no.

Everyone should know by now that there is no free lunch in Wall Street. Well, actually, there is this dumpster outside a deli on Broad, but, nah, let's stick to the no free lunch theory. If I've confused you with the Amazon dividend issue, check out our more efficient Stock Splits FAQ.

Versed in the finer points of splits, we move on to more Amazon news. Last month the cyber-mammoth took advantage of its wide customer base to allow shoppers to see what their peers are buying. Posting customer preferences by career segments might seem odd, but it's a unique personalized advantage that a retailer with Amazon's critical mass can pull off. The company already offered Instant Recommendations based on past book purchases and an elaborate Music MoodMatcher to facilitate CD selections.

Exciting? Sure. Invasive? Maybe, but the customer base continues to grow, affording users anonymity. Anyway, guess what the Wise were buying? Today Amazon announced the most popular music CD purchase from the Wise last month. Limp Bizkit? Lauryn Hill? Nope. It was U2's The Best Of 1980-1990. OK, so maybe these preference pools don't exactly have a pulse on what is current. Then again, maybe it's the Wise to blame. Could it be that "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is a bit of an anthem? Maybe "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is prequel tonic for Black Monday nightmares. Maybe there is safety in the lemmings-esque "I Will Follow." I don't profess to know. My U2 vinyl has been collecting dust and cobwebs for years. I live for today.

Revel in the here and now. Fly a kite into the heavens but mind the power lines. Play Alphabet Soup with my words, plucking the first letter of every paragraph I wrote tonight. I said I'd play it straight but I failed. Or did I?