Europe was at the heart of today's Rule Breaker news. Glorious old Europe, with its immensely delicate cathedrals, narrow winding streets, soaring mountains, and slow rolling valleys that harbor historic, quiet villages. News that (Nasdaq: AMZN) is raising money by issuing debt in European euros ($586 million worth), and news that a large German company is selling pieces of its plastics recycling plant on eBay's (Nasdaq: EBAY) business-to-business auction service in Germany (called eBay Pro), mixed with my daily visit to the Fool UK, put Europe squarely on my mind.

Thinking of Europe reminded me of my first visit to Fool HQ. My first visit to company headquarters happened in 1996 (after eighteen months of being a Fool remotely), and came immediately on the heels of a summer spent in Europe. (So, now you see the loose connection.)

When I arrived in Virginia to visit the Fool, it was a blistering, humid August day. You sweat as you stood still. I was making the trek to Fool HQ for an interview to become a full-time employee, and in the process I was considering the move from Chicago to Virginia. What I expected to find as I walked into Fool HQ for the first time was 1) air conditioning, 2) cold water, 3) techies hard at work, 4) news writers hard at work, and 5) portfolio managers, namely Tom and David Gardner, hard at work watching stocks and the stock market.

Overall, in fact, I expected the Fool office as a whole to widely be focused on the stock market. The stock market, was, of course, open for trading. And this was -- I mean, come on! -- this was The Motley Fool. The company's entire reputation, especially in 1996, was based on giving stock market advice.

What I found when I walked into Fool HQ, however, was what you'd find if you visited today. A lot of people are here, none of them glued to the stock market, many of them talking about anything but stocks, and none of them (News Fools aside) seemingly concerned with the stock market's activity for the day. In fact, Tom and David Gardner, the two port managers, seemed even less interested in the day's activity than anyone else.

At first, this was very surprising to me.

Sure, the Fool had always advised long-term investing, buy and hold, and don't sweat near-term events; keep your eye on the big picture, not the bouncing ball. However, I wasn't prepared to see this advice taken so completely, even by the two Fool portfolio managers who were soundly crushing the market at the time. Therefore, it was disarming to see that the stock market's activity was not the day's focus in Fool HQ by any means. Not even close. In fact, I would have been reluctant to bring up the day's activity on the stock market, had I known what was happening.

This company teaches about investing in the stock market, but -- other than its News department and now the Fool Research department, both for obvious reasons -- most employees don't watch the stock market minute by minute, or even day by day. Because that isn't necessary to succeed at investing; and because watching too closely can even prove detrimental to strong returns.

I realize that most Foolish investors who are online regularly check their portfolios as often as they're online. But there is a large difference between checking how your port is doing and "working" the stock market every day. If you're sweating out your return on a daily basis, you're missing the point, and it is a luxurious point: if you're invested Foolishly, you needn't work at it daily, or worry about it regularly, at all. If you're invested Foolishly, you're largely free. Even after a summer in Europe, the Foolish Way really hit home for me when I first visited Fool HQ over three years ago. So, if you're in Alexandria, VA, stop by. We have two foosball tables in the game room.

Returning to Europe, is selling convertible debt, once again, to raise cash. The cash will be used to invest in other online businesses. As of December 31, Amazon had more than $700 million in cash and stock, and the company had invested over $220 million in various firms such as,, and (which goes public this week with ticker IPET).

It makes sense for Amazon to raise more money now, after the stock's recent 20% jump. However, because this debt is convertible, it can eventually be turned into new Amazon shares, and this shareholder dilution, however modest, helped fell the stock today. Amazon has been registered to offer up to $2 billion in new debt since last year, though, so this offering isn't a surprise. It was practically a given, and it should have been figured into the stock price long ago.

Back on American soil, Celera (NYSE: CRA) jumped 13% without news. Excitement surrounding the human genome story and genomic-based drugs continues to lift many related stocks higher, including Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI) and Millennium Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MLNM).

I smiled at an article regarding options traders that ran on CBS MarketWatch on February 1. The article was titled "Momentum Players Bet Against Biotech." Their argument is this: because biotech stocks were so strong in December and January, the stocks are ripe to decline. Since the article was published last week, Human Genome Sciences has gained more than 40%, Millennium Pharmaceuticals has risen 15%, and Celera gained another 14%. Ouch for the traders. Especially since they've been betting against the stocks prior to February 1.

This isn't to criticize a short-term mentality with an opposing short-term mentality, however. It is to reiterate the long term. Long-term, potential is just beginning to emerge for many talented biotech companies. Risks are high, but so is the long-term potential. Personally, I'd much rather bet on the long-term momentum of the industry than bet against the short-term momentum of the stocks.

Speaking of momentum, April 15 is coming. Prepare for your taxes the Foolish way! And consider the Fool's new Tax Guide book, again written by Fools Selena and Roy.

Fool on.