The Rule Breaker portfolio lost 1% of its value today, coming in slightly ahead of a weaker market. The Motley Fool NOW 50 dropped a percent and a half.

Today's recap is a smorgasbord of random (and somewhat amusing) Rule Breaker thoughts and images. In fact, are we beginning to build something of a Rule Breaker photo gallery below? You be the judge!

Let's start off with...

The Bitter Excite@Home Shareholder's Pic of the Day

Yep, you invested a while ago, and you're well in the red. You're like me. And so you find particular meaning in this otherwise unnotable Indy image from a practice lap last Saturday.

Eddie Cheever. God bless him.

The "He's Smarter Than You, and He Will ALWAYS Be Smarter -- They All Will" Quote of the Day

In a feature article in Business 2.0 that previews Soapbox -- our new business allowing you to publish business, investing, and technology research for sale to other members of our community -- there was this gem of a backward-looking quote:

"Eric Schmidt, a biotechnology analyst who works from S.G. Cowan's New York and Boston offices and who follows companies including Celera, is glad to tackle that question: 'Lay people are lay people for a reason,' he says. 'The Internet can be a good forum for stock-picking.... But long-term the world still belongs to institutional investors and the professionals in my community.' "

So just in case you weren't clear on this, Mr. Schmidt and (presumably) the company he works for -- S.G. Cowan -- would like you to know in no uncertain terms that "long-term" the world does NOT belong to you.

I just wanted to prepare you for that, in case you had fancied otherwise.

Note to self, note to reader: The world is to the professional institutional investors. As it has been so very much over the past couple of years!

FLASH! -- Tale of a Faker Breaker

One of the great Faker Breaker stories of the past two years is Iridium, the company that put 60+ satellites up over planet Earth to be able to offer you "anytime, anywhere" cell phone service.

Thanks to Iridium, you could be in the middle of the Gobi Desert and still call people with your cell phone.

Then again, how many people actually would be in the Gobi Desert, wanting to make a cell phone call?

And how many people worldwide were going to pay the $2500 cost for the phone, or the dollars-a-minute charge for the voice service?

Iridium, pumped up by Merrill Lynch buy reports and at various points looking somewhat like a Rule Breaker, crashed hard and entered bankruptcy when the expensive deployment of infrastructure failed to lead to an even more expensive and long customer list. IRIDF became IRIDQ, one of those sad signs of a business gone bad. Motorola and others lots hundreds of millions.

Just the other day, my fellow portfolio co-manager Jeff Fischer let me know of a great site serving a co-interest of ours: astronomy. It's a NASA "Pic of the Day" site where you can view a single astronomical image along with a short commentary written by an astronomer letting you know what the heck you're seeing. So it seemed too, too apropos when I looked at the list and saw the image lesson from May 2, entitled "An Iridium Flash Sunset." It's a great pictorial reminder of what a Faker Breaker can look like and do to you, and is available by clicking here. Take a quick look! That little white streak has the disappearing look of any promising business that got financing, had a good technology, a good team, and lots of good pub and Wall Street support... BUT lacked one thing: customer focus.

We have actually since hired a few former Iridium employees for our business (as they're local), and we like them very much. But they're not in marketing. I wouldn't hire any Iridium marketing guys, no thank you very much. Nothing personal, but you have to check with someone first to know they'll use your gadget before you build it. Because, "they may not come." And that's the job of marketing. And that's why I believe good marketing to be a critical component of just about any true Rule Breaker. Flash....

(Jeff in fact may have foreshadowed the market's eventual reaction to Iridium when he put up a rather unpopular post back in October 1998 entitled simply "Telephone Calls." That's one for the books, too.)

If you're interested in the "should you be able to invest your own Social Security money" debate, tune in to the second hour of this weekend's Motley Fool Radio Show. That's our focus, and we'll be welcoming a few congressmen along with your phone calls.

Finally, what would happen if The Motley Fool were shut down by China, asks Dick Armey in today's Washington Times.

Fool on!