The Internet has produced another useful, if not morbid, business. Websites LastWishes.com and Mylastemail.com offer new services to make life easier on your loved ones after your demise -- and maybe get a little ghoulish payback, too.
You can store all of your important financial information and an electronic will for family members to access. That sure beats their rummaging through the piles underneath your bed to figure out how much money you really hold in your brokerage account. No one wants to do it, but preparing for the inevitable is a worthwhile endeavor.
Perhaps the most nifty service the websites offer, however, is the ability to send posthumous emails with messages, pictures, and even videos. What could be better than that to mess with your enemies or send one last note to your love? Imagine these:
Dear Frank: I'll be waiting for you in the netherworld, and I will never forget what you did to me in junior high.
Dear Linda: If you're receiving this, that means the Red Sox have finally beaten the Yankees and won the World Series. My subsequent heart attack, while sad for you and the kids, was well worth it. Trust me.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Time to Buy JetBlue?
- Discussion Board of the Day: Low-Carb Way of Life
- U.S. Beefs Up McDonald's
- Quote of Note
- Nokia Goes Hollywood
- More on Fool.com Today
Time to Buy JetBlue?
The hurricanes have claimed another victim.
In August, JetBlue saw traffic rise a healthy 31%, clocking in 1.53 billion revenue passenger miles. However, a slightly faster capacity increase of 34.3% brought the load factor down slightly to 89.3%. Similar to what AirTran
September looks worse, as Hurricane Frances has caused JetBlue 262 additional cancelled flights, and the possibility of a third hurricane may slow down travel further.
But here's the thing: JetBlue has generally been a Fool favorite because it's one of the few airlines to consistently pump out profits alongside Southwest Airlines
Can things really get much worse?
This scenario isn't all that different from what I wrote regarding Ameristar Casinos
With JetBlue, the bad news is out, the stock is down, and we like the company. Add it all up, and you have a recipe for at least a consideration for a buy. And if you haven't yet, the best place to start is with the four-part series on JetBlue that Whitney Tilson wrote last summer:
- The Amazing JetBlue
- JetBlue's Beautiful Cost Structure
- JetBlue's Customer Experience
- JetBlue's Friendly Skies
Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Ameristar Casinos.
Discussion Board of the Day: Low-Carb Way of Life
Have you given a low-carb diet a shot? How does one start to embrace the Atkins-approved way of dining? All this and more in the Low-Carb Way of Life discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
U.S. Beefs Up McDonald's
Yesterday, I took a little trip to the neighborhood McDonald's
Today, McDonald's reported same-store sales that outstripped expectations, especially in the U.S. market, which posted a 7.2% gain over last year. The Street had been hoping for as little as 4.5%. Overall, systemwide sales were up 4.6%.
Europe was the laggard; sales slipped nearly 1% across the pond. Management blamed the Germans and some lousy weather for raining on the parade, and investors would be wise to watch to make sure this doesn't become a habit.
Despite the well-reported cultural and epicurean disconnect between us and our trans-Atlantic friends, they eat plenty of Quarter Pounders (make mine a royale with cheese). McDonald's European revenues are roughly equal to those from the U.S., meaning an uptick over there would be mighty helpful to the top line. Still, if shareholders had to pick a place to shine and a place to suffer, they would say, "To heck with Europe." U.S. sales are much more savory, since the operating margin is 14% better back home.
At a time when we're getting accustomed to dim sales outlooks -- those from Wal-Mart
Trading at a PE a bit richer than its peers, McDonald's stock may no longer be a no-brainer; its tasty dividend and continued success should put in on any Fool's list of blue chips to savor.
For more Foolish food ideas:
- Matt Richey says Lone Star Steakhouse
(Nasdaq: STAR)is worth a nibble.
- Steak 'n' Shake
(NYSE: SNS), who could say no to that?
- See how McDonald's is faring with the diet crowd.
Quote of Note
"A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done." -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Nokia Goes Hollywood
With Nokia's new phone featuring so prominently in the storyline, and presumably garnering lots of close-ups with the company's trademark prominently displayed, what could possibly go wrong with this product placement? Lots. You see, in addition to being a vehicle to revive Ms. Basinger's fallen star-hood, this movie aims to "connect with people" -- much as Nokia does itself -- by getting them to identify with the frustrations of the police officer as he attempts to track down and rescue Ms. Basinger.
He will endure short battery life, "one-bar" signal situations, and the misnamed customer "service" of his cell-phone provider. Reportedly, at one point the poor constable gets so frustrated that he discharges his sidearm in a cell-phone store. Lucky for him that, in order to stay connected to Ms. Basinger so the film can come to the usual happy ending, the officer can be reasonably certain he will not have to deal with dead zones or dropped calls.
The negative portrayal of cell-phone service in the U.S. was sufficiently traumatic to scare away literally every cell-phone provider approached with a product placement offer. That includes SBC Communications
The providers' reluctance to attach their names to this film is understandable. And even Nokia is taking a risk in what is probably the most prominent product placement ever conceived. As for whether it pays off in the end for the company -- well, I don't want to spoil the ending.
For more Foolish musings on the cell-phone industry and Nokia, try:
- Tim Beyers' Still AT&T Wireless, for a Spell
- Ben McClure's SBC Down, Not Out
- Phil Wohl's SBC Strikes Out.
Fool contributorRich Smithowns shares in Nokia but has no ownership interest in any of the other companies mentioned in this article.
More on Fool.com Today
James Early shares some potential gems -- and the logic used to dig them up -- in 3 Stocks Worth Watching.... Think you know what's going to happen in the next 12 months? So does the market, Bill Mann says in The Self-Confidence of the Naive.... Investors can follow companies' cash trails to profits, Sam Subramanian says in Shopping for Cash.... Tim Beyers asks: What Is a Good Dividend?
In other news:
For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.