Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saving on medicines

Interesting article on people buying prescriptions from outside the U.S. much more cheaply than they can get them in the U.S., but then the shipments getting seized at customs.

quote: "So about five years ago, Mrs. Higman started ordering the tablets from Canada, where a year’s supply that would cost about $1,000 in the United States sells for under $100."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Updated Stock Holdings 10-22

Hadn't done this in a while, and just wanting to update my top stock positions as of today.

INTC - Intel
WDC - Western Digital
CMI - Cummins
BRK.B - Berkshire Hathaway B shares
OUTR - Outerwall/Coinstar
NEU  - Newmarket Corp
CHRW - CH Robinson Worldwide
CTSH - Cognizant Tech
QCOM - Qualcom
SNI - Scripps Networks
CHKP - Checkpoint software
VMI - Valmont Industries
CF - CF Industries

I guess the newest 2 additions were VMI Valmont Industries and SNI Scripps.   I think the only recent sell I had was liquidating my ORCL Oracle position (at a loss I think). 

I did purchase a small position in TIVO (TiVo) the other day, but it is small and not based in my traditional valuation methods.  My wife really likes her TIVO and I read a presentation about their new products and progress in becoming the set top box for more cable providers (who then won't have to develop their own), and it just felt like TIVO might have a good chance to build up a to a tipping point where the economies of scale tip in their favor.  The stock has not done much in a long time, and the earnings are not currently there - so support things - this is just a small gut call that seemed it might have a good chance of working out.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I'm getting kindof old so I figured maybe I should read a Hemingway novel before my time was up.  I'd been looking for examples of what many considered excellent writing and Hemingway's books seem to be on most lists.  Particularly he was held up as an example of clean, clear, precise writing.

I did a little internet search and decided on reading "For whom bell tolls" and picked it up from the local library.  I finished it last night.  I was hoping I'd like it better, but unfortunately the book sortof lost me around page 350 or 400 - and I had to force myself to plow through the remaining 100-150 pages or so to get to the end.   While the final scenes were pretty interesting I felt like a lot of the "middle" of the book could've been trimmed considerably while preserving the story.  There was a large section that felt like it was just marking time until we got to the finish.

Anyhow, overall I was pretty disappointed with the pacing in the middle.  It had a very strong first half, and an exciting conclusion, but that part in between...

Something very interesting in the writing style was how Hemingway often would change from third person point of view (he, she, they) to first person point of view (I,me) - often even within the same paragraph.   It actually worked pretty well in the narrative to quickly move in and out of the main character's head, but it seems like it's something that would be discouraged by editors today.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why Americans living abroad renounce their citizenship

I thought this was interesting.  It asks those who were American citizens but who were living abroad and renounced their US citizenship - why?   It seems alot of the comments are related to difficulties of living abroad while trying to comply with complicated U.S. tax filing laws that make it very difficult to live/work overseas.  Some also comment that overseas banks don't even want to deal with them due to all the complications.  Many don't seem to want to do it - but they seem to say it's financially too difficult to maintain.

Anyhow, I thought this BBC article was good reading:   Why I gave up my US passport