Brandon Starr's blog. Updated daily since March 2003. Welcome. Make yourself comfortable. Have a hot chocolate.

Brandon Starr's blog is not to be taken internally. All humor is intentional, unless indicated otherwise.
Do not read while operating heavy machinery. May cause intracranial short circuiting.
Not for children under four days of age.

If for some reason you wish to contact Brandon Starr, take a moment and reconsider.
No? Ah, well. His email is brandonstarr@yahoo.com.
It's your fault now, and don't blame me when it all goes terribly, terribly wrong.


New fiction story! Click here for "The Voice of Cassandra."

Click here for my ongoing novel: "The History of Magic in the 21st Century."

Click here for the lowdown on "The History of Magic"

Click here for my new investing blog, "Adroit Investor"

Click here for my anti-Bush shirts.

Click here for my favorite design: the 'tourist safety shirt.'

Brandon Starr is available in small, medium, and large. Contents may settle during shipping. Allow four to six weeks for delivery. Open carefully; contents under pressure. Do not incinerate. May be habit-forming--do not take if you are gassy or under the influence of mimosas. Improved; now non-staining. Ships in all colors, except puce. Prompt refund if not satisfied--simply return unused portion. All queries promptly ignored. Complaints resolved with deep, gut-blasting laughter, followed by posting complaints on nearest public wall. Not responsible for sunburns. All your base are belong to us. Act now. Beware cheap imitations. Insist on the original--Brandon Starr.

Update notification by email available below.

Some fun/useful/useless links:

The Internet Movie Database

My cousin back from Iraq, and how it changed me (my current favorite entry on this blog)

Zazzle.com

My Zazzle.com product page

Fun blogs:

infinitus opinio

Siren's Song

the mechanical jive

The Strange World

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

Librarianguish

Elven Sarah

Random Musings (Catcher)

Certifiable Princess (Sarah 2)
   

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Thursday, April 29, 2004
Google soon to go public

Google is about to go public--that is, sell shares into the stock market.

Usually, IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) are doled out to a group of brokerage houses, which in turn sell them to their clients.  Google isn't doing this.  Instead, it will hold an online auction (almost certainly not on eBay) to make the shares public.  Then they will trade on the open market.

The differences are:

1)  Google is likely to get more money from the auction.  When a "hot issue" hits the market, it almost invariably shoots up on the first day.  But the company doing the IPO only gets the money from the sale by the brokerage houses to their clients.  The market value rise on the first day of trading is lost to the issuing company.

2)  You are much more likely to have a chance to get shares this way than the usual way--but you'll pay more.  The auction means anyone who signs up will be able to bid.  But the value is much lower--you're not getting a low pre-trading price, you'll be getting an already-set-by-the-market price.

3)  Shares may not go up at all once the auction is complete and trading starts--especially if the price paid is already high.

4)  The odds that the Google owners and vested employees will be filthy rich are higher.  This could be a disincentive for them to continue working at Google, or at all.

5)  Google avoids the infighting and politicking that goes with the old-fashioned method of doling out shares, where the brokerage houses all clamor for a greater portion of the IPO shares.

6)  Google may not see its market price stay above auction/IPO issue price long, if at all.  With a hot issue, keeping the price above the psychologically-important issue price isn't usually a problem.  But if you auction it to squeeze every last dime out of the market, Google may have nowhere to go but down.  Of course, Google is about as hot as they come--so it may be able to overcome this handicap.

IPOs are notoriously difficult things to invest in.  Many strong people have been reduced to tears.  Some see sharp early gains, followed by long, painful declines.  Many studies have shown that IPOs often trade for long periods below their issue price.  After all, even under the old-fashioned way the point is for the company to make as good a deal as possible with the investing public.

So don't be surprised if Google is auctioned off as one of the most richly valued newly-traded companies ever.  And don't be surprised if it can't hold that level.  But, on the other hand, there is an old saying:  the stock market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.  So I wouldn't be placing bets on the stock dropping, either.  This one is going to be a tough call.

In the end, the Google founders and employees may be the only winners.


Posted at 12:14 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Clever idea of the day

How to make wind generators useful when the wind doesn't blow?

You have the turbines make hydrogen fuel any time the generation is higher than the electricity demand.  Then, when the wind is low, the hydrogen runs a generator instead.

Beautiful, simple, useful.

Posted at 06:36 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

..and yet more info on silver

Well, now the silver chart appears a lot flatter.  It's still down, the same amount as the last time--around $0.50/ounce.  But the steeper drop down to the low $4 level has disappeared.  Hard to say what happened exactly.

Either way, silver is looking weaker in the short term.  You can bet I'll be looking for a good spot to jump in if silver really takes it in the chops.

Posted at 09:44 am by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

...and the silver rebound

Whew.  Silver is going on a major rebound.  It's still down heavily as a metal, and the stocks are still in the basement, but jeez, I'd hate to be a commodities futures guy today.

This increases the uncertainty around silver, so it'll be a while before I feel comfortable jumping back in.  We'll see.

Posted at 08:33 am by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Silver slammed

Chinese comments slam metal, coal stocks

China, whose economy has been very strong the last few years, is saying it needs to cool off its economy to prevent overheating (i.e. inflation).

Gold stocks are down about 5%.  Silver, because it has industrial uses, is down more.  Silver miner SSRI is down over 10%.  Silver prices are down over $1 an ounce.  This is a monster move.

Oh, and one minor correction.  I thought I was out of silver altogether, but I forgot I had a small amount in my IRA, which I rarely check.  Well, I have 10% less today.  Ouch.

Not sure if it's time to get back into silver yet, but surely this is bringing the time closer.  Woof.

Posted at 07:48 am by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Funny product of the day

A variation on the "Jesus fish"

Funny, and it makes you think.

Posted at 06:38 am by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
One more thing about the unforgivable Bush action...

...where he cleans his glasses on a woman's blouse:  he doesn't even know her.  He's doing this to a total stranger.

Ugh.

Posted at 12:28 pm by brandonstarr
Comments (2)  

Unforgivable Bush action--holy cow, I can't believe my eyes

Bush takes unsuspecting woman's blouse, cleans his glasses with it

It happened at "Late Show With David Letterman."  The video is available on the link.

Really, what can you say about a guy who treats people with so little respect?  He must think this woman is less than human to clean the grease off his glasses using her clothing without asking.

I am flabbergasted and disgusted.
 

Posted at 10:31 am by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Monday, April 26, 2004
This explains the feeling I get watching Bush stumble over a question

Research: brain response same for watching mistakes as making your own mistakes

I think we all know that feeling.  When someone is trying to get the "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle with only one blank space left and can't, and you just want to reach through the screen and throttle them.  Or watching a friend drop an easy catch.

Likely this response helps people come to the aid of others, increasing efficiency.  Imagine if you are in a primitive tribe, and some numbskull is hunting by stepping on every dry stick in their path.  If you didn't want to go over and smack them upside the head, it could jeopardize the food for your entire group.  This part is, of course, speculation on my part.

This seems to be the opposite of schadenfreude, the "shameful joy" you feel when gleefully watching someone fail.  Likely the difference has to do with your attitude towards the other person.  If they're a rival, you'll more likely feel schadenfreude; if an ally, you're likely to feel this "argh, don't do that!" response, which doesn't have a cool name that I know of.

Of course, when I watch Bush stumble, and I feel "argh" instead of schadenfreude, it's an indication that I want him to succeed.  That's not surprising, even though I differ with him on many issues.  I still want a President who is competent.  Too bad I feel "argh" on an almost constant basis.

I'll have to live with it.  Hopefully only a few more months.

Posted at 08:07 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

North Korea refuses aid by train

North Korea refuses aid by train from South Korea

If you don't fight for freedom, you'll end up like the folks in North Korea--held hostage by their tyrannical government, starved, poor, and, when disaster strikes, unable to receive help by the quickest means because of the governmental fears.

Fight for freedom, or you'll have little left to fight for.

Posted at 01:10 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

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