And on Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average took another 80-point nose dive, before rallying today. You know, lately, the stock market's been performing like a blind never know when she's going to hit bottom.

Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but the stock market is Las Vegas without the slots, the hookers or the dependable odds.

The market's so volatile these days, so dependent on so many minute indicators. A \$50 billion manufacturer of 16 different microprocessing components, each indispensable to the computer industry, can see its stock price plummet by half or more, solely on the rumor that Benny Kelso on the loading dock says it hurts when he pees.

Now, two phrases you'll often hear are "Bull market" and "bear market." In case you're wondering about the difference, a bear market is where I lose money because my stocks are plummeting along with everybody else's, while a bull market is where I lose money because my stocks are plummeting all by themselves.

Analysts are always telling us that the best way to invest in stocks is for the long term. The only problem with that is, in an attention-deficit-disordered America, the words "long term" indicate a time unit somewhere between the career of a boy band and the bitch-slap of a hummingbird.

And now, with the advent of the Internet, an unholy alliance between the home computer and the stock market has spawned the day-trader ? the kind of proto-loser who is spotwelded into his Incredible Hulk underoos down in the basement, his trembling, silver-Lotto-scratch-card dust-encrusted fingernails frantically pounding "buy" and "sell" orders into his keyboard so loudly that he can't even hear his mother upstairs crying out for the good old days when all he did online was compulsively masturbate.

The widely-held gospel of Wall Street is "buy low and sell high." Thanks. Thanks for the tip, Motley Fuck. That's like telling a bald guy "Getting laid's easy...Just go to a bar and pick up Heidi Klum."

Now, I don't want to act like I'm a fiscal expert here. As a matter of fact, when it comes to my own investments, I have only one question: What do all those numbers mean? Seriously, what would I know about what things are actually worth? I'm in show business, for chrissakes.

When the market began to tank last month, I couldn't get my broker on the phone. Finally, his secretary admitted he had quit to take a job with Exxon, but she couldn't quite remember which gas station it was.

I've learned some painful lessons about investing. In the future, when ending conversations with an investment advisor, I will do so by saying, "I'm done speaking with you now," instead of saying, "Bye-bye," which my former money manager always mistook for an enthusiastic request to purchase shares in whatever lean-to piece of shit-dot-com sham he was getting blowjobs and free plane tickets to push that week.

Hey, there's no substitute for doing your homework before investing in a company? good, solid, sound fiscal research. When I'm thinking of investing in a retail chain, for example, what I do is go to one of their stores, and lock myself in a bathroom stall. Then I curl up in a fetal ball on the floor and emit a low, painful- sounding groan, and I time how long it takes one of the assistant managers to come in and see if I'm okay. Wal-Mart? 3 minutes. Target? Half hour. K-Mart? Kibbel the night janitor woke me up at three in the morning and asked me if I had any rolling papers.

Hey, I know investing is a risky proposition, and I don't mind losing my shirt, but can I have my pants back? Recently, let's say, over the past month, I've put sixty-thousand dollars into Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Thank God I didn't buy the stock.

And last year I bought Pets-dot-com at thirty. Two weeks later, it was dropping faster than Al Roker on a greasy flagpole. You'd think I would have learned my lesson, but instead I moved my remaining capital into something called e-Toys. And last time I looked, that stock had broken through zero and was tunneling into the molten magma at the core of our planet.

But the gloomy end of the unsurpassed bull market of the 90's did turn up some unexpected bright spots. For one thing, remember that day-trading dilettante prick neighbor of yours?the guy who threw a few lucky darts at the NASDAQ wheel and showed up at every party for the next year in his Lincoln Navigator, downed a few too many glasses of Turning Leaf Chardonnay and got all self-important, going on and on like he was Warren Buffet with a soul patch talking about P/E ratios and small-cap funds' place in the Keens-ian oeuvre and you figured, "Well, he must know what he's talking about," and so you put ten grand in a stock he recommended that collapsed like the Three Stooges' tent the following week? You remember that guy? Well, right about now, he's replacing all the deodorant cakes in the men's room urinals at Der Weinershnitzel before he finishes off his shift standin' out front and handin' out half-off chili fry coupons, dressed like a giant fuckin' bratwurst. I'd say karma is up about a hundred points.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


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