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Author: imdajunkman Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35400  
Subject: Thank You, All Date: 7/20/2006 2:59 PM
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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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Author: jackcrow Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17617 of 35400
Subject: Re: Thank You, All Date: 7/20/2006 10:31 PM
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your welcome you HT pig. Throw a guy a bone every once in a while willya.

Its in the conversation and in the low intensity arguments that we learn most about ourselves, each other and the topic at hand.

jack

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Author: imdajunkman Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17622 of 35400
Subject: Re: Thank You, All Date: 7/20/2006 10:53 PM
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Jack,

Rewrite the e-mail you sent me this morning as a post, and you'll score HT, too. Your thinking is deep. Your writing is authentic. Apparently what the secret committee is looking for is what amounts to a "white paper", something that presents a sustained argument or narrates a personal experience that might have broader appeal than just the board on which in originated.

I question their topic choices, too, especially their not allowing the poster to edit it in anyway, even to clean up the typos. But it's their house, their rules, and their nickel that I can spend.

Charlie

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Author: jackcrow Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17628 of 35400
Subject: Re: Thank You, All Date: 7/21/2006 9:03 AM
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Charlie,

Which rant? LOL. If you are talking about the MPT I'm afraid those theories argue too much against the establishment, particularly the TMF establishment.

I don't give a rip about HT or post of the day, they are nice kudos but rarely does my best work get noticed. But if you seriously believe my MPT rant would be of value to folks here I'm certainly willing to cut and paste it.

jack

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Author: imdajunkman Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17632 of 35400
Subject: Re: Thank You, All Date: 7/21/2006 10:04 AM
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Jack,

Cut-and-paste won't cut it. The rant would need rewriting, because you were responding in a specific way to something specific I had said as part of a larger context. Cut-and-paste would produce a product that amounts to commentary on commentary on commentary. I think what you said is important. It took an effort to do, and I'll respond in kind. But, as it is, it's a private conversation, not something that invites wider participation.

I totally agree that achieving HT is a nice kudo but irrelevant to why either of us --or anyone-- posts, and that our best material generally gets ignored. Such is life, such is publishing. As for rubbing people's noses in their errors, that, too, is a waste of time. They need to be reminded to check their assumptions. But the critiques of MPT are easily found and, cynically, it's not in our best interests to disabuse anyone of their beliefs. Even the Sage of Omaha says as much. As long as the business schools continue to crank out eager-beaver analysts who believe CAPM, he says, he'll be able to pick their pockets. Black-Scholes is similar nonsense, a theory formulated with simplifying assumptions about market behaviors.

This is not to say that neither theory has local utility or even widespread utility. It's at their margins where they break down or under conditions of acute stress. If a person is benchmarking themselves against peers --as the fundies do-- then success can be defined as not doing as badly as everyone else. If one is trading for his own account, then absolute, positive returns have to be achieved. For those reasons, some shrewd traders either avoid CAPM, Black-Scholes, etc, or actively and successfully trade against them. But that's a minority strategy, as you say, but not without precedent or relevance as can be seen by digging around in the history of science and the sociology of knowledge. Fashion plays a bigger role in why theories are accepted or rejected than nearly anyone wants to admit. The hoops that that innovators had to go through to get their papers –-now widely respected and the foundation of much subsequent work— published in the first place is ample proof of the capriciousness of how knowledge advances and yet another example of “clubbiness”. TMF is a club, too. Its critics exist at its sufferance. Such is life.

Charlie


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