HOW TO DO EVERYTHING BETTER
The secret to choosing a wealth-building investment is to read
the market and do a bit of essential homework, according to
Damien Hoffman, the editor-in-chief of Wall St. Cheat Sheet.
k Look for companies that
are relatively unburdened by
large debt loads, which could
hamper their operations. In
a slow economy, they’ll more
easily thrive than operations
that have to cut big interest
checks for the bankers. The
good news? That information
is public. Visit sites like Yahoo
Finance to check a company’s
stock quote page and see how
much (or little) debt it’s holding. Less debt? Better bet.
k Some growth is product-driven. Pick companies that
have promising merchandise
and big launches in the pipeline. Anticipated releases from
Apple, for instance, add to its
balance sheet, bottom line,
and income statement, making it a hot stock. Read blogs
that track businesses you’re
interested in and watch firms’
investor-relations centers for
products in development.
k The easiest way to avoid
busted business schemes is
to make sure A-level management is running the show.
Check the Web for the CEO’s
track record—not just at his or
her current company but also
with previous firms. Make sure
the company hasn’t had inquiries from the Securities and
Exchange Commission in the
past 10 years. Any such scrutiny should raise a red flag; for
the safest bet, select a company with zero inquiries on file.
BE TOUGH ON OVERALL
k The simplest way to verify
that a company is technically
sound is by looking at its stock
chart. Jagged shark teeth, flat
lines, or long descenders? Not
good. You want a stable, boring, ascending line from past
to present. It doesn’t have
to be a drastic “hockey stick”
formation—some of the best
companies are steady and
slow growing. Look at the past
year’s stock performance for
an idea of the current trend.
Dealing with someone who’s
about to blow his top is like
walking a dog with a full
bladder: You have to keep
him moving to empty all of
the contents. If your pal is
fuming over a fumble by his
team, coax him out of the
house and into the yard, or
from the bar to the sidewalk.
2. MAKE HIM YELL
Telling him to calm down
will only fire him up more.
Angry men don’t want to
be told they’re angry. So
challenge him to yell louder.
A few hearty primal screams
can help stop his steaming.
Better to have a few short
bursts of rage than a whole
day of frustrated stewing.
3. BU Y HIM A DRINK
To help lend closure to the
situation, invite him back
inside with a round. But
make it a scotch, not a beer.
The better the booze, the
slower he’ll sip and the
calmer he’ll become. Before
you know it, he’ll have
forgotten why he flew off the
handle in the first place.
CALM AN ANGRY BUDDY
Hotheaded comedian Lewis Black tells you how to keep your friend’s temper in check.
Blast Leaves Off Your Lawn
Stop blowing leaves around in circles. There’s a more efficient
way to make your lawn look presidential, says Dean Norton,
director of horticulture at Mount Vernon in Virginia.
Control your machine
Keep the blower on its highest setting except around property,
like cars and windows. (Flying dust and gravel can scratch
paint and blow through small openings.) If you can, use an
electric blower—it’s quieter and more ecofriendly. We like the
240 mph Black & Decker LeafHog. $75, blackanddecker.com
The blower can’t efficiently move big piles of leaves, especially
if the leaves are wet. So use it to make a few smaller piles and
then rake them up. When you can no longer blow leaves to the
top of a pile, rake the pile into a yard-waste bin. Can’t wait for
the leaves to dry? You guessed it: Rake. It’s good exercise.
Hit the tarp
If you have a large yard, unfold a 12'x12' tarp and blow the
leaves onto it, cleaning your yard by sections and dragging the
tarp with you as you move to various areas. When the tarp’s
full, drag it to the curb and dump the leaves for community
pickup. (Or if you have the land, find a spot to let the pile rot.)
Keep tight spots clean
Don’t spend your weekend fishing leaves out of your garden
and hedges: Throw bird netting over landscaping that catches
leaves. When you’re ready to dispose of the downed leaves,
just bundle them in the netting and dump them into your pile.