Mighty Fine Fine Print

On Friday, I received a flyer in the postal mail telling me the HOT STOCKS ON THE STREET, wherein some unnamed entity has deemed Sniffex, Inc. (SNFX) as the stock to buy in 2006! A full eighth of the four page tome is dedicated to the disclaimer, reproduced here in its stunning glory:

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER & DISCLOSURE: This paid advertising issue does not purport to provide an analysis of any companies financial position and is not in any way to be construed as an offer to buy or sell and security. We are not investment advisors! This is paid advertisement and Sniffex inc (SNFX) is featured company Annecto Corporation (hereafter annecto) managed the publishing and distribution of this publication, annecto disseminates information via paid advertisements. Although the information contained in this advertisement is believed to be reliable, annecto and its editor make no warranties as to the accuracy of the description of any of the content herein and accept no liability for how readers may choose to utilize it. The information contained herein is being republished from already publicly disseminated information by third parties regarding SNFX and are assumed to be reliable, but annecto accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of such information. Annecto, or any of their assets, principals, officers, directors, partners, agents, or affiliates are not, nor do we represent ourselves to be, registered investment advisors, brokers, or dealers. Readers should independently verify all statements made in this advertisement. Annecto has a total production budget of over $500 000 and annecto is a non-affiliated third party, annecto is using its own money to disseminate this report. Annecto or its Affiliates own shares of SNFA and intend to sell them at a the open market. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving various risks and uncertainties, that could cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward looking statements. This is not solicitation to buy or sell stocks. We are not registered investment advisors, this text is for informational purpose only and you should seek professional advice from registered financial advisor before you do anything related with buying or selling stocks, penny stocks are very high risk and you can lose your entire investment. This is not solicitation to buy or sell securities and this newsletter is not a registered investment advisor. Please make special note that Annecto reserves the right to sell any or all of its shares in any company profiled at any time, be that before the date of a profile, during the date of a profile, or at anytime after the date of a profile. Further, specific financial information, filings and disclosures, as well as general investor information about publicly traded companies like SNFX, advice to investors and other investor resources are available at the Securities and Exchange commission web site at www.sec.gov and www.pinksheets.com . Any investment should be made only after consulting with a qualified investment advisor and after reviewing the publicly available financial statements of the company and verifying thatch the investment is approved within the respective investors state. Investing in securities is highly speculative and carries a great deal of risk. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The information contained herein contains forward-looking information within the meaning of Section 27 A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including regarding expected continual growth of the featured company. The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Reference is made in particular to the description of SNFX’s plans and objectives for future operations, assumptions underlying such plans and objectives and other forward-looking statements included in the information provided. Such statements, which contain terms such as expect, believe, anticipate, suggest, plan, indicate and similar terms of uncertainty, are based on management’s current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Factors which could cause such results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements include the size and growth of the market for SNFX’s operations, regulatory approvals, the ability to fund its capital requirements in the near term and long term .All statements relating to operational results are hereby qualified in their entirety by the companies filings, including its financial statement filings, under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

That, my friends, is 768 words of cobbled-together gibberish (I was going to include [sic] to indicate the grammatical errata, but I gave up quickly. Like a child repeating a mantra under the blankets to protect it from the boogeyman, Annecto seems to have swiped and pasted legalese from a number of sources to create the repetitive cantation to ward off lawsuits.

Not registered financial advisors? You don’t say! Based on the writing and editing skills contained within the forward-looking statements, I’d say that the authors/cobblers lack a diploma, much less whatever paperwork it takes to become a registered financial advisor.

No, Annecto looks more like a pumper and dumper from Yahoo! message boards with a desktop publishing program and a postage budget.

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Book Report: The Museum of Hoaxes by Alex Boese (2002)

I bought this book in a book story in San Francisco last May, or at least I think I did. It’s hard to remember what I did in San Francisco, although I do remember it was hilly. I don’t specifically remember buying this book, either, but its $4.98 price sticker reminds me of the others I bought there (Jump the Shark, The Action Hero’s Handbook, and so on).

This book collects a list of hoaxes throughout history. It started as a dissertation, but turned into an Internet phenonmenon of which I’d never heard. Still, the book is a quick enough glimpse into some of the more foolish things our forebearers have believed, if only briefly. The book offers a number of pointers to the Web site, which kinda irks me; I mean, I bought the damn book, albeit at a reduced price; why not just freaking tell me the story? Oh, because I’m not an ongoing revenue stream as a book purchaser, but as a piece of the ad-price-setting aggregate traffic, I’m worth the effort.

Although I found the book a treasure trove of trivia, I was kinda disappointed on a couple of fronts:

  • The author’s political views seep in subtly, but not too badly. Although you couldn’t really tell by the way the author excuses Janet Cooke’s invention of Jimmy, the eight-year-old heroin addict, whose saga in the Washington Post earned Cooke a Pulitzer by saying, “In a way the story of Jimmy did convey a truth about conditions that existed in many inner-city regions of America, even though it did not actually tell the truth,” or concludes the Tawana Brawley fiasco by saying, “More than anything else, the episode and its bitter aftermath displayed the deep racial divides that still haunted American society.” Say what you will, but those aren’t the conclusions I would make. Previously, the author had lauded some hoaxes from the Enlightenment era as rational men using hoaxes to educate. One could briefly sense he was hoping the Brawley case and the Cooke fictitiousness would enlighten the masses.
  • Also, as the hoax snippets tripped into the later quarter of the last century and beyond, I suddenly realized that the reach of the grand hoax of old has faded, as we’re slightly more skeptical. I mean, Bonsai Kitten? Only idiots believed that. So the hoax loses its allure with familiarity.

Still, it’s a fair enough read if you’ve got the time and can get it cheap. But like most non-fiction crossover material from another medium (whether talk radio or the Internet), ultimately it looks more like the shadows on a Platonic wall than a complete whole.

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Marketing Tip

Although I am not a highly-paid marketing professional (I am merely a highly-paid technology professional who works for a marketing company), I’d like to proffer the following tip that might seem like a good idea, if not the obvious:

Pepsi One, Coca-Cola Zero
Pepsi One, Coca-Cola Zero

Never, ever name your product so that, if it’s placed side by side with its equivalent product from your competitor, it sounds as though you’ve just lost a tightly-contested ballgame.

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Book Report: Johnny Mnemonic by Terry Bisson (1995)

I bought this book from a garage sale in my eBay days for a quarter. As you know, gentle reader, I don’t shy away from novelizations of movies (see also The Enforcer and Desperately Seeking Susan). So I read this book even though I haven’t yet seen the movie.

As you might know, it’s based on a screenplay by William Gibson based on a short story by William Gibson. Instapundit once repeated a question from Stuart Buck:

STUART BUCK on the novelization of the Narnia movie: “If you make a movie out of a classic and beloved children’s book that has sold millions of copies, why on earth would you want to have someone write a book based on the movie?”

Duh! Because if the original novel sold more copies, the movie studios wouldn’t get a cut. But with the synergy of rewriting the source material and releasing it as new, preferably by one of the parent company’s subsidiaries, you get an alternate source of revenue for the property. Heck’s pecs, I haven’t even been to Hollywood and I grok that.

But I digress. This book details the story of a courier with a flash drive (or the 1995 predicted equivalent) wired into his head. A pair of scientists hire the courier to carry a large secret to Newark, but as the upload completes, organized criminals burst in and put the courier on the run. Also, the courier has overextended himself; the scientists uploaded 320 gigabytes (not megabytes), so the overload is beginning to to impair him. He races to Newark looking for his contact, but the organized crime figures are on his tail, driving the courier underground with the Lotek gang and an enhanced but attractive young woman.

It’s a quick little cyberpunk book which preceded the mainstreamization of the cyberpunk genre. It’s also interesting to read about Johnny Mnemonic, portrayed by Keanu Reeves in the movie, as jacking into the matrix–several years before Reeves jacked into the film that revitalized his career. Many people see this story as a precursor for The Matrix, but that stretches reality a little bit–there’s no paranoia fiction aspect to it at all.

A quick read, worth the quarter.

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Already Have One, Thanks

Excellent opportunity in the mail yesterday:

I’d like to talk to you concerning a full or part time management opportunity with my company. Please call me at 636-xxx-xxxx.
                    Thank you,
                    Len De Clue

Come on, if you’re looking for suckers, don’t insult their intelligence on the first contact. Although, in retrospect, this is probably a good mechanism for vetting leads. If they want you, Len de Clue, they’re ripe for the harvest.

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Private Property Hijacked By Owners

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s headline identifies whose side it comes down on: Casino’s parking is hijacked:

How much is too much to pay to park a car in downtown St. Louis?

At the very least, it’s a bit less than $25, according to the President Casino on the Admiral.

In an apparent power play over control of the much-disputed “Cherrick” parking lot, its owner has jacked up more than tenfold the price the President pays for customers to use the lot.

So it’s the owner hijacking its own property. Well, sort of. As I read the article, the owner wants to squeeze the government-subsidized entertainment venue (the President Casino) into buying the parking garage before the new government-subsidized entertainment venue (the new casino and go-kart track) seizes the property for a “fair” price. Somewhere in there I got confused about the blighted area infighting for the same profitable resource and stopped paying attention.

Which is probably just what they wanted. All the better to rule me.

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Book Report: Mine the Harvest by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1954)

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sister Norma published this book after Ms. Millay died, so its works contain a gamut of the good to the filler material selected from the poet’s incomplete or unpublished work. Oddly, the linked Amazon listing says that the first edition is 1949; however, the stated first edition I have has a 1954 copyright. Perhaps Norma was just planning ahead.

I paid $10 for this stated first edition at Hooked on Books in Springfield, and it’s a former library book. That said, perhaps it’s only worth ten bucks to me, but I’ve enjoyed Ms. Millay’s work since college. Actually, in college I read a great deal of her work and her biographies and whatnot. Early in our relationship, I gave Heather a collection of Millay’s sonnets. So let’s just establish that I am somewhat biased.

In this volume, Millay’s thoughts muse more on death than on love, partially accountable to her advancing age and partially accountable, I would expect, to her sister’s selection for poignancy. But Millay can still turn a phrase, and the poems within this volume which are not incisive nor insightful are tolerable, which puts her in an upper league on merely that account. A couple of memorable lines in decent poems scream for quotation, and I’ll reread the book in the future and will enjoy it then, too.

So it’s probably worth the ten dollars even though I never attended Albernathy High School nor used its library. It’s mine now.

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Call the Guinness People: AP Finds a New Record

U.S. Toll for Year in Iraq Nears ’04 Mark:

Bombings and shootings killed at least 20 people across Iraq on the final day of the year Saturday, while U.S. troops shivered in the cold during a performance by an “American Idol” singer as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations. The U.S. military also reported the death of an American soldier from wounds, bringing its death toll in Iraq for 2005 near last year’s record level.

I would say, “Give me a break,” but Associated Press is not doing us any favors. Let’s recap the timeline:

2003: The United States invades in late March and faces an enemy that largely surrenders. US faces 9 months of combat and occupancy.
2004: The first full year of occupation, and the year which the “record” was set.
2005: The second full year of occupation, and the year in which the record is almost matched.

There you have it; a record of long-standing. Well, we Americans are told that we’re always hungering for the bigger and better things all the time, with baseball players chasing home run records every year and whatnot. I guess Associated Press is just trying to feed our interest in meeting or exceeding records every year, even if it has to manufacture those records out of whole cloth.

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