Archive for November, 2006

Long Licenses to Kill

Under Section 7 of the Intelligence Services Act, the secretary of state can authorize persons to commit acts abroad for which they may not be held liable under British law. By implication, that includes all criminal law relating to the use of lethal force…an authorization, though renewable, may last for only six months.
Does James Bond have a License to Kill?

Governments worldwide have recently made many new types of licenses tradeable, the most visible example being exchangeable carbon credits. We believe that, were the British Licences to Kill to become tradeable, their value would immediately soar. Demand from the US (ex-wives, rival ganglords, etc.), Asia (business competitors) and Russia (everyone) would materialize quickly.

Recommendation: Invest now to capture the liquidity discount.

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong — but that’s the way to bet.

-Damon Runyon

Past Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

Things This Mini-Baller is Thankful For

  1. My fellow mini-ballers who taught me that mini-balling isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about your ability to spend way more than that for no good reason
  2. The hot girls who work at the guess store and laugh at my jokes when I buy $300 jeans
  3. The S&P for constantly underperforming my portfolio
  4. Mutual funds for constantly underperforming the S&P
  5. The potential energy of my bonus
  6. My ability to learn new skills: I learned how to juggle in 10 minutes this morning using crumpled up $100 bills
  7. My new RED Amex and its versatility: B&T girls think it’s like a black card and non-profit chicks think it stops AIDS in Africa (which happens to be a great way to push for unprotected sex: “don’t worry about that baby, my RED card eliminated AIDS.”). Also there’s no annual fee
  8. My family who isn’t impressed by my income, my credit card debt, or by my profitable, dividend paying, financial humor blog

Please share things you’re thankful for in the comments.

2×2 Matrix: Less & More

I am pleased to introduce a new series in which I simplify complex analysis into 2×2 matrices. Why am I doing this? I was trained at a management consultancy and 2×2 matrices are now in my DNA as well as being a stipulation in the contract I signed with the devil to get the job.

It turns out that any media business can be described by two variables: the amount of product, information, or entertainment being produced [referred to hereafter as Strategy] and the resulting value creation. The key question for each company is to look at each of these two critical valuables and ask: Less or More?

Google: More is More
Strategy: MORE. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is producing more of everything. After originally launching in search only, Google now provides email, maps, IM, photo management, and online videos of trivialities (via the YouTube acquisition).
Value: MORE. Google now has a gazillion dollar market cap.

Yahoo: More is Less
Strategy: MORE. Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) has the #1 portal, #1 email service, #1 prescence in the key Asia market, and leading positions in pretty much every other vertical. They are also — like Google — investing tons of money in servers to make their services speedier and have recently acquired many interesting companies.
Value: LESS. Despite the great assets involved, Yahoo is run by a man who has a hard time speaking the English language, whose daughter has starred in a reality show about spoiled kids, and who doesn’t know how to use email. As a result, MORE becomes LESS.

Clear Channel: Less is More
Strategy: LESS. In late 2004, Clear Channel (NYSE: CCU) embarked on a bold plan (incredibly) titled Less is More. The stated goal of this plan was to reduce the amount of “clutter” (i.e., ad units) per hour on its radio stations in order to boost listening. The super secret goal was to push advertisers from 60 second commercials to the more expensive 30 and 15 second ad formats. This program appears to have been at least modestly successful due to a significant year over year decline in sucktitude at Clear Channel radio stations.
Value: MORE. Clear Channel’s stock has recently rallied and management has accepted a buyout offer from private equity firms. Including the 2005 spin-outs of Live Nation (NYSE: LYV) and Clear Channel Outdoor (NYSE: CCO), Clear Channel shareholders have done pretty well for themselves since the Less is More strategy was implemented.

Newspapers: Less is Less
Strategy: LESS. Newspapers are reducing everything in sight including: employees, subscribers, revenues, reporting staff, and even the physical size of the newspapers. In fact, they have cut everything except their margins…a fact which has prevented them from reinvesting in growth areas like they should be. In short, they are screwed.
Value: LESS. Newspaper stocks go down every day.

Hot Boobs Get it Done

LoS is listed on the 1st page of Google Results for “hot boobs” and it is our most powerful search engine term according to the trailing two weeks schedule from Google Analytics. All thanks to our research report Save These Hot Boobs from Cancer.

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing 11-19-2006

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.

-Milton Friedman

Past Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

Reader Comment on Le Nature’s Disaster

Oh no, more water!From the comments of Le Nature’s Disaster.

My father worked there. He was in constant fear of losing his job, because the Podlucky brothers constantly threatened to fire anyone who did not submit to everything they wanted. Anyway, now my father is on the verge of filing bankruptcy because he cannot [pay] his bills after being furloughed earlier this week. I cannot wait to see Greg Podlucky, John Podlucky, and the rest of the corrupt board (who were all related) go down hard.

On a side note: those performing the inspection of the company are the same people that did Enron and they said that what Podlucky was doing is 10 times worse than Enron and will be in college textbooks and taught in colleges/universities for the rest of time.

Recommendation: Le Nature’s sold bottled water. How do you fake selling a physical object and not have it bite you in the ass for that long? Amazing.

Le Nature’s continues to trade at significant discount to other well known frauds such as Worldcom, Tyco and Enron on the All Time Scandal Exchange. We chalk this discount up to the fact that the company was privately owned with only bank debt and a couple hundred million of senior bonds. We maintain our position that any company which can turn $30mm of actual sales into $300mm (an unheard of 10x topline fraud multiplier) without being a blackbox or service type company deserves a first ballot entry into the Fraud Hall of Fame. We expect the Le Nature’s fraud to realize substantial fraud appreciation as sophisticated investors begin to take notice, and institutional money begins to flow in.

Long Milton Friedman

Favorite Milton Friedman quote

2nd Favorite: “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”

3rd Favorite: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

If you want to see how to be devastatingly clear in a debate watch this Milton Friedman video on Limited Government

Sometimes the sell-side sucks, other times they’re just annoying.

The sell-side is full of hard working people and this isn’t meant to offend any of them, they usually have valuable information.  My gripe with them is that they are flippant, fickle, waffley, double-talkers.  The examples of this are countless, but today I’ll focus on two recent research report titles that have shown up in my inbox:

“Alstom: Full Steam Ahead – NEUTRAL”

Alstom’s earnings are going “Full Steam Ahead” just like the choo-choo trains they manufacture, but this analyst would prefer to wait for PROOF that margins are still going up before recommending buying it.  Good idea analyst, chances are the stock will stay at a full-steam standstill in the meantime and will only go up AFTER they prove margins are going higher.

“El Paso Corp. (EP.N): Initiation of Coverage:When Opportunity Knocks, It’s Time to Listen; Equal-weight”

Well done again analyst, after months of research and a lengthy initiation report he has determined that opportunity is knocking on his door in the form of El Paso.  Upon hearing this knock he recommends jumping out of bed, putting on your holdneutral robe, answering the door, and saying “Hi El Paso, I know you want to give me free money but these equalweight panties im wearing are all in a bunch, so you’ll have to come back later after you’ve appreciated 30%”.

Recommendation:  Short sell-side analysts, long analrapists.

If you have any good sell-side report headlines send them to us with our new submit form or by email at

How successful has Domino’s been in bringing pooplets to market?

Actual image of Domino's productDomino’s (NYSE: DPZ) is widely known as a chain of delivery aligned pizza restaurants which used to use Satan as its mascot. Their new “brownie” substitute product has alternately enthralled and repelled us. According to our research, Domino’s Brownie Squares represent the first ever instance by a food company to legally market and distribute fecal matter. If you haven’t had the pictured product yet, it tastes exactly like what it resembles– glazed pooplet souffle.

This is a brilliant attempt to improve margins by selling human (animal/alien?) waste to the Drunk/Stoned market, which is known to be both price and taste insensitive. We are still trying to unravel whether Domino’s is making money coming and going, being paid to take the waste and then selling the processed waste to their customers. Either way we are attracted to what may be a delicious high margin business model for the entire food industry.

It is difficult to ascertain how successful Domino’s efforts have been at this time so if you have any experience with or knowledge of their current or future fecal delivery platforms, please share it within the comments below.

Raising the Bar at Bonus Time

Most people have one “raise the bar” friend. He’s the one who buys everybody shots — without warning — at midnight. Or who orders filet mignon as soon as it becomes clear that the restaurant bill is going to be split evenly.

Step 1: Raising the bar can be also be used to mess with friends. An easy version of this comes at bonus time. Start early. If you have a friend who gets a bonus in December or January, start yesterday. Begin innocently by reminding your buddy just how much he has “killed it” this year. Emphasize how critical he was to his firm’s sucess. The key is to inflate your friends’ expectations so far beyond reality that no matter what their “numbie” is, they are disappointed.

Step 2: Laugh evily.

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

Fear is temporary. Greed is permanent.


Past Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

Long or Short Announces Q1’07 Dividend of $0.73

Following the release of Long or Short Capital’s first quarter of fiscal year 2007 financial performance, the firm is issuing a a $0.73 dividend per a subscriberholder as of 10/31/2006. To qualify, all you need to be is a subscriber, either by XML or E-mail, as of 10/31/2006. If you were not, you will not be eligible.

For more information on how to collect your cash or cash equivalent dividend, please refer to our Dividend Policy. Given our float of 385 subscriberstakes (as of 10/31/2006), a 5% growth assumption and our trailing twelve months total of dividends of $3.17 per subscriber, our current capitalization is $42,715 using a dividend discount model. Our market cap has grown 33% sequentially.

Appropriately Named Professionals, the Borat Edition

In the movie Borat, Borat goes to a Hummer dealership and encounters a car salesman (“there is no magnet”) named Jim Sell.

The film is distributed by 20th Century Fox, and the studio spokesperson attached to the project is Greg Brilliant.

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