Monthly Archives: April 2009

Saboteurs Take Out San Jose Internet

If you’re wondering why the and sites were down yesterday, it wasn’t the normal server crashes, equipment moves, or other normal stuff. No, saboteurs actually cut the cables, disabling phone, cable, and internet service to a big chunk of San Jose, Morgan Hill, and Santa Clara.

The cuts were actually done in four different locations, and AT&T is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.  The FBI is also on the case.

Weird, weird times we live in…

The Stock Market Game Update

After the first day of play, mattress-stuffing Kelly is in the lead with $10,000.23 cents, courtesy of 1 day’s worth of interest on her Wamu money market fund at 0.0083% interest.

I similarly chickened out (but didn’t give myself the benefit of any interest, as my “cash” is presumably stuck in a brokerage holding account). I just didn’t see any stocks which looked like winners to me right now.

Neil went with BQI, a petroleum sands exploration company out of Canada. Had he been able to get in yesterday, he’d have made a nice profit, but for today, the stock treaded water and he’s still out the commission fee of $49.99

Lastly, Carolyn went with her “economic apocalypse” smattering of stocks which included gun makers Smith & Wesson and Ruger, defense company Textron, as well as the Gold spider fund. Textron was up significantly on a rumored buyout by Lockheed, but the others were slightly down, leading to a net loss of $26.15 for the day.

The Stock Market Game

In an effort to help teach my son Neil the fundamentals of the stock market, we Bickfords are kicking off a family contest on Monday which will run until May 1st. It’s called “The Stock Market Game” and it goes like this:

1. Each player starts with 10,000 in (pretend) cash with which they can invest in any publicly traded security or fund.

2. The person with the most money in their virtual account at the end of the game wins $50 in real money, so long as that person showed a profit over the starting capital.

3. Of any players left with less than $10,000 at the end of the game, the person with the greatest losses pays $10 of real money (or a comparable amount of chores) to the contest sponsor (Dad).

4. Kelly, our five year-old, is required to follow the “stick in in a Money Market Fund” strategy, which guarantees at least one winner (and a minimum of $10,004.15 required to beat her at the end of a month).

5. All sales are executed at the market closing prices, and all purchases are at the market opening prices.

6. Cancellations must be made with an email to, date-stamped at least 5 minutes before the point of execution (i.e., sales can be cancelled if notice is given before 12:55 pm PST; buys can be cancelled if I get notice by 6:25 am PST)

7. All stock trades have a 1% sales commission. Any normal fund entrance requirements, loads,  and early exit fees apply.

8. Both Put and Call options can be bought at the end-of-day closing price for 5% of the day’s closing value. Options expire at the end of the game (become valueless), but can be exercised with no further fees at any time.  Naked puts are forbidden (you must actually own the stock you are buying a put on).

I’ll be posting the standings at I’ll post my own stock picks by Sunday night, and if anyone else wants to play along “fantasy stockmarket”-style, drop me a note along with your stock picks and I’ll post your standings as well on the site. I’m afraid that only the family members are eligible for the csh prize (or loss), but you’ll definitely get bragging rights, and the whole thing should be a lot of fun!