March Madness gives us incredible basketball, but it also fuels the ongoing controversy about completing a college education because a significant percentage of college hoopsters do not receive their college degrees. Although an occasional player will complete his degree after his pro career concludes, this accomplishment often goes either unnoticed or receives nominal mention.
In contradistinction, this June an individual who could not be mistaken as an athlete will return to get his college degree 34 years after he matriculated, proving that perseverance is rewarded.
Moreover, the degree will be from Harvard, conferred on the individual not because he completed course work, but because he will be the commencement speaker at Harvard's graduation. Certainly, one could argue that Bill Gates, the founder of
, my pick for today, has done well in his other ventures as he "pursued" his degree.
In the time between leaving college and graduating, Bill Gates built the world's largest software company, which recently launched the newest generation of its Windows operating system, Microsoft Vista.
The company says it sold 20 million licenses of the software in the first month, and in the time leading up to the Jan. 30 release, its shares have enjoyed a resurgence.
Many people are hesitant to upgrade their operating system until it becomes absolutely necessary, but as time passes and Microsoft smoothes out some compatibility issues, more users will upgrade. After several years of inconsistent revenue growth, the release of Vista provides a much needed boost and it should be a catalyst for future gains in the stock price.
In February, Microsoft's shares dropped below the 50-day and 100-day moving averages for the first time since August. The decline lasted into early March when the stock received support just above its 200-day moving average. The stock closed Monday at $28.22, and it is now once again moving up and is within reach of both its 50-day and 100-day averages.
This provides a great opportunity for us to buy 10 deep in-the-money calls, and I will put in an order at $8.70 or better for the October 20s (MQFJD), giving us control of 1,000 shares of arguably the greatest company on the planet. This is absurdly cheap, because you pay only $8,600 instead of the $28,220 it would cost to buy the 1,000 shares of common stock on the open market.
When one considers the impact Microsoft has had, or will have, on humans all over the world, it is mind-boggling. This is especially true when taking into consideration that Microsoft was born just 30 years ago. (I'm not alone in liking Microsoft: some high-profile hedge funds that hold the stock include
. It pays to see what the "smart money" is buying these days.)
Lock and Load!
Game of Life and Players Club
As the spring holidays approach and we anticipate our much needed vacations, we will dread waking up in the dark hours of the night to arrive at the airport two hours before our flights. Upon arrival, we will wait in the security line for about a half hour only to discover that our 3.2 ounce bottle of Afrin does not meet regulations.
Frustrated and probably sweating by this point, we will be forced to remove our shoes as we pass through the metal detector, probably acquiring a few strains of fungus on our now shoeless feet. Despite our aggravation, there is no escaping the tedious process.
We think nothing of it when a woman passes her crocodile skin tote through the security belt or when a man is asked to take off his crocodile skin watch. A security breach along the Gaza-Egypt border this week caused some jaws to drop. Security guards were suspicious of an oddly shaped woman dressed in many layers of loose fitting clothing. After a pat down, they discovered a very cumbersome crocodile belt, not Gucci, but rather a more genuine brand.
Three live crocodiles measuring about 20 inches each adorned the woman's waistline, a very creative accessory indeed. Oddly enough, this is not the first time someone has attempted to smuggle animals through the Rafah crossing. Another woman tried to smuggle a monkey tied to her chest, while other travelers have tried to smuggle exotic birds and even a tiger cub. The officers ordinarily confiscate cigarettes, prescription drugs and car parts, so three live crocodiles definitely set off some alarms.
A Palestinian guard speculates that the woman was most likely aiming to sell the crocodiles to a local zoo or to a private owner at an estimated $500 a piece, which is more than two months' salary of a low-ranking Palestinian police officer. The crocodiles were safetly returned to their home in Egypt.
While live crocodiles are not currently the hot commodity on our streets, security is a ubiquitous theme in any culture. Whether it is the physical security present in our airports, sports arenas, and big businesses, or perhaps the emotional security of a loved one, as human beings, we embrace being "safe."
Ultimately, if arriving at the airport two hours early catches one guilty terrorist, it is worth it. In order to maintain the highest level of safety, we are forced to sacrifice or compromise something, whether that is sleep or more seriously, our values.
Hopefully, our means of earning money do not resort to smuggling live crocodiles; nevertheless, the need for financial security is omnipresent. The Players Club recognizes, among many other important aspects of life, the value of financial security in the lives of athletes.
By guaranteeing recurring cash flow, we guard athletes' wealth, thereby preserving and hopefully increasing their financial security. Confidently, by increasing financial security, the Players Club hopes to send athletes on more frequent and more luxurious vacations. For the time being, don't get too boggled up in long lines at the airport and don't take your crocodile belt for granted!
Always remember: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in the stock mentioned.
Nicknamed "Nails" for his tough style of play during his Major League Baseball career, Lenny Dykstra was an integral member of the powerful Mets of the mid-1980s, including the world champion 1986 squad, and the Phillies in the early 1990s.
Today, Dykstra manages his own stock portfolio and serves as president of several of his privately held companies, including car washes; a partnership with Castrol in "Team Dykstra" Quick Lube Centers; a state-of-the-art ConocoPhillips fueling facility; a real estate development company; and a new venture to develop several "I Sold It on eBay" stores throughout high-demographic areas of Southern California.