Forget the bulls. Ignore the bears. The week ahead was made for wolves, hogs, and forgetful elephants.

The red-hot real estate industry will have its temperature taken yet again when homebuilder M.D.C. Holdings (NYSE:MDC) produces what should be record results for its third quarter. Recent interest rate hikes haven't done much to cool off the hunger for fresh, new digs. While it's conceivable that the big bad wolf may finally fill up his lungs with enough hot air to blow this sector down, it continues to defy its historically cyclical ways. In other words, no one's calling the cops yet to shut down this house party.

If I were a third Johnson in Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), I would do silly things like tack on "No More Tears" stickers on annual reports during turnaround years and hand out Band-Aids during bad periods. Naturally, Johnson & Johnson & Munarriz is about more than just yellow baby shampoo and boo-boos. The company is huge, with more than 200 operating companies producing consumer products and medical supplies and treatments. After a strong second quarter complete with double-digit sales and earnings growth, the company comes out with its third-quarter report on this day. Adhesive bandages this time? Probably not. You're more likely to uncork the baby bubbly.

Let's not forget about Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) either; the Internet bellwether will also be releasing its third-quarter financials. It is dolled up with a recent spiffy makeover that is sure to turn heads and attract eyeballs; will the financials look as nice?

It's kind of appropriate that Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HDI) are reporting their quarterly results on the same day. They both put out an elite, high-end product that caters to rebels.

Another thing that they both have in common is that they are coming through with unexpectedly strong years. For Apple, that has come from a digital music force that now finds it selling as many iPod portable music players as iMac computers. For Harley that means defying the consensus that bike sales would be in a rut after its robust 2003 centennial celebration with brisk business so far in 2004. So Apple and Harley, we know that you two love to cut against the grain and upset the status quo. Cool. Now get a room.

If you get all tingly when you see a red, rectangular envelope in your mailbox, then you probably know all about Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). The DVD rental specialist that was conceived when its founder was steamed after being hit up for late charges at Blockbuster (NYSE:BBI) after being tardy with his return of Apollo 13 -- yes, that's a true story and makes this an ideal candidate for our Rule Breakers stock newsletter -- is on a tear. It closed out the month of September with just more than 2.2 million subscribers, and that's a 73% improvement from last year's tally. Sensing a connection, I think I'm going to be a renegade and hold on to my copy of Apollo 13 for an extra day or two and see whether inspiration strikes again. Chocolate-flavored popcorn? Swimming pool bridal wear? Man, I'm shooting blanks.

A week ripe with financial stocks stepping up to the earnings plate ends fittingly enough with Wachovia (NYSE:WB) coughing up its third-quarter financials. Yes, this was once First Union, before it acquired the smaller Wachovia bank chain and liked its name so much that it absorbed it as well.

The low interest rate environment coupled with a mortgage boom has been great for many banks and thrifts. Just consider what Wachovia has earned in its previous third-quarter periods. It was $0.88 a share last year. It was $0.71 a share the year before. This time around Wall Street is looking for the company to earn $0.99 a share. Care to bank on that kind of steady growth?

You can't spell Mississippi without PPI, and that's about the only useless nugget of data surrounding the country's Producer Price Index (PPI) for September that will be divulged this morning. As a gauge of prices at the manufacturing level it is typically an early indicator of inflation, as dips and spikes in prices are ultimately passed on to the consumer.

Until next week I remain,

Rick Aristotle Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't have a problem showering with baby shampoo if that's all that's left around the house. He's also never plugged in an iPod while riding a Harley. However, he does own shares in Netflix.