03 Oct. 2008
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A Solid Non-Liquid Investment

It's customary for financial blogs to periodically follow up on their investment recommendations.  If they dare.  This has been a terrible year for the markets.  Pretty much everything is down, and a lot of advisers have little to be proud of.  Here at the RIKLBlog, though, things are different.  My advice has proven to be good!

This is not a financial blog.  Even so, I have occasionally made some recommendations, and it's time to see how they've done.  Here are some of them:

It's hard to evaluate the first.  I did NOT buy a tramp steamer to catch shrimp near Venezuela.  By following my advice, I lost neither money nor sleep in that pursuit.  Furthermore, considering what's going on with arch-looney Chavez and his lickspittle clique of appeasers, it would seem that, for a Yanqui, staying away is the best bet.

The second required no particular effort on my part other than opening the mail.  As it turns out, I had modest follow-up success when Arbitron chose me as a candidate responder.  I'm not all that good at filling out diaries, but I've been opening mail all my life and when dollar bills fall out you can bet they don't fall far.

My best success, especially since it was one I predicted spot-on. was with The Chocolate.  If you refer to the year-old blogitem in which I touted it, you will see that the very same item (#767), sold for $10.75.  In this year's catalog, received a couple of weeks ago, it costs $11.60, for a one-year gain of almost 8%.  In times of "normal" financial markets, 8% is pretty good for an essentially riskless transaction.  There are many bank chairmen and hedge fund managers who wish they could have achieved that this past year.  (They also probably wish they had jobs, but that's another story.)  Also note, the fundamental asset underlying The Chocolate increased in value from $14.50 to $15.00, only a 3-1/2% increase.  You can look at this in different ways.  The first is that the "spread" between the Chocolate and the box of chocolate has decreased, i.e., the issuer of the security has decided that the certificate is more valuable.  Or, that the certificates you purchased last year haven't increased as much as it seems, since they can not be redeemed for cash, but can only be held to "maturity" at which point they are exchanged for the commodity.

"The Chocolate - 2008" Regardless of how you view it, if you purchased the certificates last year, you have had a solid gain in a year when the financial markets were down, down, down.  Furthermore, if you followed the advice to diversify your assets, and are more invested in, say, the stock market than you are in these gift certificates, at least redeeming some and consuming the proceeds will make you feel better instead of a lot worse.

Last Year

"The Chocolate"  - 2007 vs. 2008

This Year

Internet Hell, Part II

Two weeks ago I was in internet hell at work, dealing with the results of a down connection.  This week, a similar problem occurred at home, for reasons unknown.  It sill isn't properly fixed.  As I started typing this paragraph the connection died again.  Then it restarted.  Now it's dead.  I have variously diagnosed the problem as an intermittent modem, hidden splitter, intermittent cable line, and a few other flights of fancy.  The only one that seems right out is the hidden splitter theory since I installed a "digital splitter" (which is nothing of the sort) and relocated the modem. 

This just in!  Since the connection didn't come back up (see above) I called the cable company and they told me I need a new modem.  I am picking one up shortly.  If you see this actually appear on my blog on the 6th, not on the 3rd, which is when all but the Hell part was written, it means I was successful.

Nope.  It's tomorrow, the 7th.  The cable guy is here...it turned out to be an intermittent cable line.  They need to send a bucket truck.  "Friday at the latest."


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NP:  "Vincent" - Don McLean

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