I usually cringe when I go to public places these days. It's not because people ask me about stocks -- frankly, I love that -- but because people ask me about penny stocks.

If you want to trade penny stocks, why don't you set up an account with

Tony Soprano's

brokerage? Then, at least, you can get in a little early.

That's why it was a pleasure, during the five hours of waiting for my dad's successful bladder-stone surgery, to be asked about nothing but

Compaq

(CPQ)

and

RF Micro

(RFMD)

. Looks like this Philadelphia crowd is into big-cap tech and the New Economy.

When I first got asked about stocks by people I didn't know, I used to try to please whoever asked me.

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

? Excellent long-term hold.

Iomega

TST Recommends

(IOM)

? Fabulous, great for multiyear even though the next two or three years are going to be awful.

Or, Gee, yeah, you hang onto that

Boston Chicken

(BOSTQ)

long enough, it has to come back.

Now though I am brutal, which is why it was a pleasure. I love RF Micro, although it is a rocket ship. And Compaq, heck, if

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

weren't our fave, I hear it's a good thing.

So I told them both to hang on. And, get this, the RF Micro guy? He had a couple of good ones for me. I will tell you what I do with a tip later in the week.

Random musings:

One down, one to go! Dad's bladder stone could be headed to the

Smithsonian

it was so big. And this Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, what can I say? If you have to go, this is the place. Dad was smiling and asked only one thing: "Hey, when are you getting back on 'Squawk Box'?" Oh, man. Can't let him down.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.