E Eyebrows And Eyeballs, Robots And Androids

In some recent fashion shoots in both New York and London, many models appear to have no eyebrows. Either they have been shaved off, or so much foundation pasted on them that there are no dark hairy crescents above the models' eyes.

The result is a strangely robotic or zombie android face. The function of eyebrows is difficult to guess at, but I think they underlie human facial expression. Without them the models' faces look impersonal, affect-less, mechanical, inhuman.

Officially we have eyebrows because some of our (Neanderthal) ancestors' heavy brows sloped outward from their hairline, ending with hairy growth to protect against sweat or dandruff getting into their eyes. But I don't think this is really why evolution favored the brow. It was more likely because eyebrows are part of the way faces communicate emotions.

Back in the 1920s and 30s there was a trend for ladies to tweeze to achieve very fine (supercilious) eyebrows. The Duchess of Windsor set the pace but you can see it also in Downton Abbey. Another fashion trend was shaving one's eyebrows to paint them in higher up the brow. This is what Japanese geishas did and, now that she is defending her father's legacy, is also something that I recall was imposed on Luci Baines Johnson by a makeover artist before her first marriage. It enlarges your eyes and gives you a startled expression. She dropped it along with her first husband.

Here in no special order are some of the initial public offerings to come in the next few weeks:

Poundland Group, the UK chain of ultra-cheap single-price variety stores for the poor, being listed pricily in London;

Yandex and Mail-ru, already trading overseas, to bring tech growth stocks to the OAO Moscow Exchange. YNDX is on Nasdaq and Mail.ru is listed in London;

Weibo, Twitter-like social media and micro-blogging site, being spun off bySina, a Chinese Internet platform;

Alibaba, owner of 18% of Weibo, is itself going public either in Hong Kong or on Nasdaq.

What these mean for our portfolio is discussed below along with news about recent trades, and some excellent performance by our holdings in the last week, with one of our shares the best performing large cap stock in the world, up 9.6% and another No. 16, up 5.8%. This week's articles are mostly about e-commerce, cellphones, and closed-end funds. Lots of snippets after our heavy lifting last week.

*The stock which rose the mostest last week was Teva which we sold down last year in despair at its boardroom shenanigans. Under its new Israeli deal-maker CEO it is reviving. It is still my largest holding even though I sold it out of my IRA account (because I couldn't afford to pay the taxes had I sold it from my regular brokerage account.)

*Spanish telco Telefonica is facing European Union antitrust demands hindering its takeover of E-Plus in Germany, after eluding German spin-off demands as the price for its euros 8.6 bn deal. The EU is split between the need to consolidate and rationalize telephony across borders and its fear of oligopoly. Unfortunately the Treaty of Rome, written back in the 1970s, focuses on the risk of market dominance rather than streamlining mobile phone systems around Europe. TEF is preparing to face a demand that it give up spectrum or offer it cheaply to its remaining 2 German rivals. Brussels is preparing "a statement of objections" to the TEF deal, according to The Financial Times today.

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