More Junkmail from Bob!

Monday, June 05, 2000

Important Stuff.

I would like to point out that today's Junkmail is not late, since there is no schedule for Junkmail. Furthermore, I would like to point out that in 2 days I will have an 18-year old toddler. This is somewhat amazing considering that I was 18 myself only 3 or 4 years ago. (At least it seems that way to me.) If you take this nice kitten into your home, I may throw in Brian at no extra charge.


Last week American Express stopped allowing porno web sites to accept Amex credit cards. Also last week AT&T decided to offer hard-core adult movies on its cable network. There's bound to be some significance here, but can't quite grasp it.

ABM Treaty

In 1972 the U.S. ratified the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty with the USSR. This put big limits on having smaller missiles that shoot down inbound nuclear missiles. In 1991 the USSR dissolved into Russia and some other countries, making the treaty technically null and void.

Now the U.S. would like to develop and deploy some anti-missile missiles for protection against nuclear attacks from "rogue nations such as North Korea, Libya, and Iraq." The ABM treaty doesn't allow this. No problem, since the USSR doesn't exist any more, right? But now Clinton wants the ABM treaty extended to include Russia and the other former Soviet states that have nukes, which would kill our new anti-missile missiles. Am I missing something here? Is this what China got for all its campaign contributions?

CGRO Crash

NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory crashed into the ocean Saturday night. But they did it on purpose. The satellite was getting a little old and lost one of its 3 gyros. It's so big it wasn't going to burn up completely when it descended into the earth's atmosphere, so they crashed it on purpose while they still had two good gyros. This way they could avoid bombing places like Pryor and New York City. The orbiting observatory lasted longer than expected, and will be replaced before long by 3 newer gamma ray satellites.

Here's the obituary:


A guy from France named Franck found Herakleion. That's the name of a town, about 3 and a half miles from Alexandria, Egypt. This is really pretty exciting, because Herakleion is about 2500 years old and has been under 30 feet of seawater for about 2000 years. There was a huge earthquake a while back and it sank into the ocean, just like some have been predicting for California.

Franck and his co-workers have been mapping the bay off Alexandria for a few years, and they've found some unbelievable stuff.

Gene Savoy also found a town. His is in Peru. It's not quite as exciting, but it's still pretty neat:

Internet Companies -- Where have all the buyers gone?

Are the valuations of internet companies getting reasonable? Well, they may at least be getting closer to reality.

Corel's stock is down around $4 a share after a failed merger with Inprise. The 52-week high was about $44. Corel was running out of money, but managed to raise a little over $20 million with a Canadian stock offering.

Corel is a Linux company as well as an internet company, but Linux companies are doing about as well as dotcoms. TurboLinux just laid off a substantial portion of their work force last week. is an online news site with crime and court stories. Today they said they were out of money and had stopped paying their journalists. They're going to continue limited operations until they can (or can't) find some cash somewhere.

And, of course, there's, who bought ViaGrafix. Their stock is priced at about $2, down from $9.50 earlier this year. At the current (1Q) burn rate they'll be out of cash this fall, even after a $10 million loan a few weeks ago. At Pryor they've gone from 210 to around 135 employees since February through layoffs and attrition. (I'm happy they disinvited me from all the action!) Sales have been declining, which is tough to explain for a "dotcom" company, and they even sold their new building to Mike and I.

There are lots of other relatively small private internet companies who are closing their doors due to lack of money. Most of these are not big enough to make the news. If you can't make a profit, you need to get money from investors or borrow it. People are not so anxious to invest in internet startups now, and they're even less interested in making loans.

The big internet companies are also having a few problems. Amazon, Yahoo, AOL, and Ebay are all down 40%-50% from their 52-week highs. Hmm...  I wonder if people have finally figured out that you have to make money to stay in business.

I think it's good for things to be going the way they are. There seems to be a gradual decrease in the unreasonable valuations rather than one big crash. It had to come down someday, because it's impossible for all the high-priced dotcom companies to make enough money to justify their stratospheric valuations.

Keep in mind my hard and fast rule on the stock market:  One sure way you can make money is to assume that I don't know what I'm talking about.

A Monster Balloon

Speaking of dotcoms, the blimp was at Claremore International last week.



The three hooligans went to check it out.



They were really nice. We even got to go inside.


The head of and the head of the blimp company are going to have a water ski contest on Lake Mead. They will each get behind a blimp and see who can ski the farthest. They've done it one at a time in Florida, one beating the other's record of about 3 miles. This will be the grand finale. Hopefully not TOO finale, though.

Sealand, NOT Zealand

Are you afraid the government will eavesdrop on your email and find out that Aunt Edna voted Republican in 1957? Do you worry that big brother is stealing your data? Fret no more! You can go to the Principality of Sealand, the world's smallest sovereign territory, for protection of your most private data.

Sealand was a World War II anti-aircraft station in the North Sea. In 1967 it was declared to be a sovereign principality and this has been upheld in British courts.

HavenCo is the name of the company that provides this "government-snooping-free" email and data storage.

Where to send your secret data:

Info on Sealand:

Here's an interesting quote from the literature: "Only authorized persons directly involved in the HavenCo project are permitted to land on the island."

I guess I'll be insecure with unsecure data for now. I think the governments of the world are not very interested in what I have to say, although I'd be happy to offer my opinion if they ask.

BookExpo '00

Six of us went to BookExpo in Chicago Yesterday, and only one of us lost our job over it. We're improving!

Here's Chicago:


Here's where we landed -- Meigs Field. You can find this on your Microsoft Flight Simulator:


Jamie Don Dotson spent some time trying to fit in with the locals:



On the way back there was some weather. There's always weather, of course, but this weather wasn't nice. On the stormscope, the green instrument above and to the right of the steering wheel, you can see the lightning strikes:


Here are some clouds in between two huge cells:






Pictures of Today!

Finally, the pictures of today are of a scissortail who was out playing today at Pryor International Airport:




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