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Advertise on the Tentacle

March 13, 2005

In Business, Who Do You Trust?

Tom McLaughlin

I love reading the business sections of newspapers. They give me a feeling of safety and security much like a spewing volcano. Having lost a chunk of change in the dot com debacle a few years ago, I read the pages with amusement. I only want investments where I give them $10 and get $10 back.

My grandmother was right. The mattress portfolio is the best strategy. Hiding money in a bed makes more sense than giving it to these fast talking “investment counselors” who show graphs that indicate the stock market is a good investment only if you live to be 200.

For most people, a down turn in the market also means unemployment and a need for those invested funds which have also tanked. Then when you get a good job after a few years on the dole, and what’s left of the fund still remains in the septic fields. Of course, nobody tells you that.

One headline from The Frederick News-Post states: “Exxon again world’s biggest company.” Anyone who owns a car or four or five or six knows gas prices have sky rocketed over the past year and somebody is making a profit. Oh, they tried to blame the industrialization of China, the Arabs, the Hummers, the Martians and the polar bears because of the lack of development of the Alaskan Wildlife refuges, but we all know the money went to the company.

Just above that story was an item: “eBay price hikes upset sellers.” Here we have a company where the little guy can make money on the junk inherited from grandma. These are folks who didn’t get to the mattress quite fast enough to reap the rewards of her saving account. Damn that Uncle Cuthbert!

One guy, who makes his living selling jewelry made from sea glass, will have an increase in fees from $100-$150 per month. I have stood on the beach of Ocean City for many years and I would never have dreamed anyone could want or sell sea glass.

My great idea for selling on eBay is to peddle sea gull food. I plan to go to the local grocery store, buy out of date bread, toast it and package it with a happy sea gull on the bag. I will then get a doctor of something to certify it is healthy for these flying rats to eat and peddle it on the auction site. If they can sell beach glass….

TGI Friday’s, the yuppie fast food restaurant, has decided to modernize itself and feature “new salads, fish and steak platters as well as the Atkins diet favorites.”

How can you invent a “new “salad? Come on! It’s lettuce plus other green stuff and an occasional tomatoe (note yuppie spelling) and my sea gull food thrown on top. A steak is a steak is a steak and it will not matter how you reinvent it. What, served on a bed of seaweed?

Most people have given up on the Atkins Diet and that destroys two years of consultants’ research hired by the firm. All you have to do is look in the food stores to see the Atkins, low carb and other tasteless food products relegated to the dented can and mark down baskets.

In state business news, Allegheny Energy, which is the power source for most of Western Maryland, “reported a consolidated net income of $72.4 million or 48 cents per diluted share for the fourth quarter in 2004,” which was a lot better than the same quarter in 2003.

Excuse me? What about the other three quarters in 2004? How many hamsters died turning the wheels in their cages, which in turn powered the generators? And what is this diluted share nonsense? How much for a real honest to goodness share? It’s like a watered down drink at a bar. They plan to reduce debt by 1.5 billion by year-end 2005. How much total debt do they have? How can a monopoly ever get into debt?

Exxon, eBay, TGI Fridays and Allegheny Energy. One provides the gas, the other the power, the third the food, while the last the beach glass. I will trust the glass seller.

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