Strange Times on Wall Street, the Latest On Brooke and Internet Inanity

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The Tuesday Trounce, otherwise known as the Dog Days:

Strange times -- almost as if someone flicked a switch on the type of news this column thrives on, or maybe everybody just went away. The only complaints I'm


hearing are from true hedge funds that have hedged their shorts against their longs. The others just shrug when asked my favorite question: "Whaddaya know?" Their shorts have already gone down, but so have their longs.

Starting to hear lots of talk about the baby being thrown out with the bathwater. Robert Kleinschmidt, of the

(TOCQX) - Get Report

Tocqueville Fund, thrives on down-and-out names and is eyeing a number of soggy stories, including


(K) - Get Report

, if they hit his price points. Kleinschmidt, as has been noted here in the past, is willing to sit on a stock for years. Wished he and the honorable JJC could have mixed it up a bit more on a recent Squawk Box. Total opposites. JJC's Type Quadruple A to Kleinschmidt's Quadruple C. Investment styles: just as different.

Meanwhile, the latest on Brooke Group:



, parent of the


cigarette company, paid the $20 million-plus interest that was due on its bonds. Considering that it had just $4.6 million in the bank at the end of last quarter, a reasonable question, I would think, might be something like: WHERE'D IT GET THE CASH? Don't know, because Brooke isn't saying, and a spokesperson would only say, "I can confirm we've made the payments, and that's all. {Click.}" The next sound I heard was a dial tone.

Which brings us back to the issue of the cash. Did Brooke not pay its trade creditors, and will investors see a big bump in current liabilities? Did Brooke CEO Bennett LeBow transfer money from another LeBow entity? Whatever the case, one longtime Brooke shareholder figures, "You can't create value where there isn't any." (Try telling that to the bulls who think the stock is worth $75.)

Internet inanity:



, an Internet service provider, trades at 10 times expected year-end revenues. That compares with five times revs for rival



. If Mindspring is really worth 10 times revs, and Earthlink five, why did



, another rival, just pay four times revs for two smaller providers? Could it be hope is Mind-springing eternal?

Responding to last week's item on Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report, Bill Wilcock, of Foster City, Calif., writes:

"I was a loyal twice-a-day latte drinker in the San Mateo/Burlingame area

near San Francisco from the very start. I also bought two pounds of coffee a week for home consumption. But Starbucks changed. The music got louder. The crowd got younger and younger. (They seemed to be catering to a whip cream and sugar crowd.) No place to sit inside. The chairs are often hauled outside by the smokers, who are not all customers. The prices went up and up. They lost me as a customer. I find coffee at Peet's

a northern California local chain a much more enjoyable experience."

That's the trouble with the retail coffee biz as a long-term growth story; you can always find something similar next door or down the street.

Memo to the reader who wonders what to do with the now worthless stock of Zenith Electronics:


Herb Greenberg writes daily for

. In keeping with the editorial policy of


, he does not own or short individual stocks. He also does not invest in hedge funds or any other private investment partnership. He welcomes your feedback at Greenberg also writes the monthly "Against the Grain" column for