No. of Recommendations: 10
Two more of my posts have been selected by the TMF's editorial board (or whatever secret committee does the selections) for “Hot Topics of the Week”. As a bone, they throw a month's extension of membership. So, I picked up two more month's membership on my original $30 investment. Added to the post they selected in January, that makes three to date. (Or, maybe 4. I've lost count.) I rejoined the 'Fool (after a long absence) on 12/27/2005. To date, I've earned at least an equivalent value of $7.50. That's my “yield” on my investment, a 25% return, not shabby at all. (And it's about a gazillion percent on an annualized basis, if you're into that kind of number-crunching. Well, closer 59%, but who's counting?) And you tell me that money is hard to make? The stuff's like chestnuts in Fall, lying everywhere on the ground for the bending over to pick them up. But the true value of those posts is what I learn from creating them. That's priceless. Not their conclusions, but the process of creating solutions to problems, which are then tested and revised. The journey never ends but, by traveling, one becomes a good traveler and discovers worlds and wonders no one else has yet seen. Ideas are landscapes to explore, and there is much that is new and fresh even in what seems old and well-traveled.

As I've said before, and as I'll say again, most of the credit for those posts belongs to you, my audience. A writer needs an audience. You are that audience. Thank you. Now comes the caveats: As Jack persistently says, as any good financial statement analyst always warns, “You gotta read the footnotes.”

Everything I write is provisional and replete with errors that range from typos and simple factual mistakes to very serious logical errors. I try to take reasonable care to eliminate mistakes before I upload a post, and I try to clean up my mistakes in follow-up posts. But you've got to assume that most of what I say is wrong, badly written, and of limited use to anyone else, because I'm writing for myself, trying to answer questions that are important to me. But I've got either a strong enough ego (or none at all), so I'm willing to let others look over my shoulder. It's a matter of being willing to take risks, which I don't avoid. There's a saying that goes like this: “Better to be thought a fool than to say something and prove it so.” That's total horse feathers. Mistakes are learning opportunities. I'm trying to make mistakes as fast as I can, because I'm trying to learn as fast as I can.

The warning label TMF attaches to “Hot Topics of the Day” is that “...selected posts have to be read in the context of the discussions from which they arose and of which they are merely an ongoing part." So, never print out what I say or regard it as any sort of final statement. Instead, jump in with your own thoughts on the matter and your own experiences. I'm a “board hog.” I'm a fierce competitor. But I'd be more than happy to take a background role if anyone else wants to step forward. So post anyway. Wherever your investing interests take you is likely where others are headed, or have been. The conversation is what matters, not the conclusions.

Again, thank you.

Charlie (aka, imdajunkman)
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When Life Gives You Lemons
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