Gotta love it:

Was doing some research on

Midway Games


and ran across a Feb. 1 press release, from Midway, disputing



claim that THQ is the fourth-biggest video game maker. "Another industry participant incorrectly reported on Jan. 24, 2000 that it ranked fourth in video game console sales and second in third-party video game console publishing in 1999," Midway reported.

Midway then quoted an official of

NPD Group

, which tracks the data, as saying: "Strong sales of the NFL Blitz 2000 and Ready 2 Rumble boxing franchises, as well as sales from its extensive product catalog, helped Midway earn the number four position in the overall video game software market.''

THQ officials didn't return our call, and the NPD official quoted in Midway's press release couldn't be reached for comment.

E*Trade whispers:

Any idea why



is scrambling to pull future advertising orders. Could it be that they're cutting costs to make the quarter, or could it be something bigger -- like a merger? Sometimes companies do cancel future advertising prior to a corporate transaction. E*Trade officials wouldn't share their plans with me (can you blame them?), but the official line to those privy to the inside dope is that the firm simply has too much biz to handle. (Uh, OK.)

Read this:

"Herb, Don't DO THAT! :-)," was the start of this fabulous post from reader Matthew Paul on my


message boards, regarding my column about turning bullish. "I read your 3/1 article with mounting panic, thinking that the last sane voice in a nutty investing world was throwing in the towel ... phew ... funny article though ...

"Hey, you know that theory, that if you took an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters, for an infinite amount of time, sooner or later one of them would write the complete works of


("To be or not to be, that is the dshjdshjds ...") ... Well, we kind of have that now in the market -- an infinite number of monkeys, picking


hotties, watching them go up, and figuring that makes them Shakespeare/

Warren Buffett

/Investment guru of the decade -- and some of them even manage to bang out the odd email to you as well! Man, you can train these geniuses to do all sorts of tricks nowadays!"

Thanks, Matthew ... I needed




A number of you weren't sure what I meant when I said that the

demise of short-sellers removes "the natural cushion that keeps stocks from going into free fall.''

Shorts borrow shares of a stock that they then sell. If the stock falls, they buy it back, return it to the original owner and pocket the difference. Those purchases, as the stock is falling (on unexpectedly bad news), can provide a softer landing for the stock price. Without any natural buyers, the stock of a tarnished company can go thud.

Herb Greenberg writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.

Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.