Your Questions About Paper Trading Online

Richard asks…

Help with where to search for books that include a certain word or have to do with a certain topic?

Besides the library catalog. I can’t find anything at the library. I have to do a research paper on Shel Silverstein, and I’m only allowed to use one internet source. Do you know where I could find the titles of some books that have to do with him?

John answers:


It drives me crazy when I hear teachers giving assignments that can only include ONE internet source. This is a lazy way for your teacher to make the point that they don’t want you to just submit a list of references from bootleg websites you pulled from a Google search. I agree wholeheartedly with this principle because much of what you’d find on google are not legitimate sources of information.

HOWEVER, when you teacher says that you may only use ONE internet source, they’re often implying that you may not use an online database like Nexis or Factiva or Academic Search Premier that index LEGITIMATE newspaper and magazine articles!

Doesn’t your teacher understand that for many types subjects, journal articles, interviews, etc are the most appropriate material available on a subject? AND that they are almost always more readily available in an online database. This doesn’t mean that you are copying the entry from wikipedia. This means you are using technology to help you access as much information as you possibly can about your topic!

Your teacher is not teaching you how to properly research anything. This is a very very common problem.

OK, end of my tirade. Sorry about that!!!

First question: how old are you/ what grade are you in? Some of my suggestions below will be either past your grade level or below it but I am just going to throw it all out there for you to take what you want.

I did a search on , an open catalog of books in libraries nationwide, and aside from short bios geared toward elementary school kids there aren’t many substantive books about Silverstein’s life. I found reference to this one by Ruth K. MacDonald but haven’t found a copy of it.

Amazon returns the same results: plenty of wonderful books BY him but just a few short bios about him geared towards age 9-12. If this is your age group, then you might want to get this one ( )

Next would be to look for books about children’s poetry or writing in general for entries about him. Here is one. Maybe your library has it. If not ask the librarian to request if from another library via InterLibrary Loan.

These kinds of encyclopedia type publications are very helpful to form your ideas but they can’t be the foundation of your paper. That is where interviews and profiles come in.

Publishers Weekly (probably THE most important industry trade magazine) did a profile of him in the February 24, 1975 issue written by Jean F. Mercier.

You will also find biographical information in obituaries eg: In the NY Times look for obituary by William Honan 5/11/1999 and David Mamet wrote a profile about him on October 14, 2001.
Another NYTime article November 8, 1981

Another profile appeared in a magazine called Library Talk Volume 10 (1997): 16 written by Sharron McElmeel

He was born in Chicago so you might look through some chicago newspapers (Tribune and Sun-Times) to see if anyone did any big stories about him over the years.

You may also find leads to other sources of information in these articles and you can connect the dots.

There is tons of stuff out there. It just isn’t all in book form.

I hope this helps ! Good luck!

Mandy asks…

Would you hire someone with a degree from an online school?

I have a question about online schools or trade schools. As an employer would you hire someone who graduated from say Art Institute Online or University of Phoenix for example? Will you say what your profession or field is when you answer? I am considering attending such a school but I have heard many people say they are not held as highly as a local community college or university yet they cost a whole lot more. The art institute is approximately $78k for a Bachelors in some of their majors.

John answers:

I worked in mid-level management for 25 years in the health care field. Education is important, no matter where it comes from. I hired graduates from both traditional colleges and non-traditional institutions like the University of Phoenix. I found that some graduates of traditional schools were actually illiterate. They could not read, write, or spell on even a rudimentary level. One of these functional illiterates actually had an MBA from the University of Texas. How these people got a degree was beyond me. I finally realized the degree was not a barometer of intelligence. I placed more emphasis on experience and the answers they gave in face to face interviews than what was stated on a resume. In the end, the person is more important than the paper. Keep working on your education. There will always be a debate as to the quality of on line degrees, but many conventional institutions now offer on line degree programs. As long as you get your degree from a reputable institution (like the University of Phoenix), you will be OK. Good luck.

Ken asks…

Is there a way to instantly buy and sell silver online like stocks?

I’ve been wanting to get into some kind of small stock trading, but then I realized that I know way more about precious metals than I do about stocks. Is there a way to buy and sell silver instantly online without actually ever having the metal sent to me and *without over-spot fees*?
Silly Goose – Ok, but why is there a discrepancy on that site with the actual price of silver? Kitco’s charts read 33.770 and that site is saying 32.62

John answers:

There is a big difference between buying a metal like silver physically and trading it.

Buying Physical
If you are looking to purchase any precious metal, of course you will always pay a higher price. The difference between the bid and the offer is simply the spread that the commodity trader keeps. Think of those traders as wholesalers. There is a fee for buying it from your dealer, which can be high, because the dealer is selling it in small amounts. Generally, the more you buy, the lower that fee will be per ounce or gram. Two well-known dealers for precious metals are Kitco, which is based in Canada, and APMEX, which is based in the United States.

Trading or Buying (or Selling Short)Virtual
Assuming that you don’t want to get a regular commodities account which tend to require a lot of capital (from a reputable firm), then you would want an ETF in which you trade it just like a stock. The suggestions above for the iShares Silver Trust Fund, SLV, are good. There is also the UBS E-TRACS CMCI Silver ETN, USV, the ETFS Physical Silver Shares, SIVR, and the PowerShares DB Silver Fund, DBS.

Please understand that when you hold these ETFs long-term often you will be exposed to price deprecation due to the fact that the ETF or ETN must roll the contract at expiration to a further date.Compare the prices over a length of time to the commodity itself to get a picture of this. Additionally, many precious metals bugs are against any type of “virtual” or “paper” assets, making the argument that in a true crisis, brokers and banks could go bust, leaving it hard or impossible to ever get your money out. I’m sure your reasons for trading silver are not because of this and I am the same way. But be aware that some do feel this way.

You’re already on a good path by choosing commodities over stocks as a beginner. While commodities do generally trade in a more volatile fashion, their moves are much more based on economic factors that one can learn and understand. Stock movements, which are due to many different factors, are much harder to understand, even for seasoned professionals.

My advice-pick one thing and stick to it. If you like silver, then learn it inside and out and don’t try to trade gold, or the NYSE, or forex. Things are hard enough for those that stick to one security, and theres no need to add in additional things to learn. Then once you master one, which can take years, you might move on. Good luck trading metals.

Nancy asks…

How much should yu gi oh cards be worth?

Sup guys me and some friends play yugioh and I have been trying to trade a card to a dude, but he takes the value of these cards to far. He wants me to trade my 60 dollar halo game that I bought just for one card. The. Cards name is Chaos emperor dragon. What should I really trade for this card. I don’t take this game to far I just play for fun but a trade like this is taking it too far.

John answers:

Trading a $60 item for a piece of paper is just plain stupid. Keep Halo, and put down the cards bro.

PS: i did a quick google, and you can get that same card for $8 online..


Ruth asks…

What is a cheap but good broker for a small investment?

I’m looking for a really good broker for about a $2-3k investment. I was hoping to minimize costs with low commission, maybe around $3-4 per trade. I was looking at ing direct, and they seemed pretty good? What do you guys recommend?

John answers:

If you’re looking at low commissions as your number one priority, you are on the wrong track, as are most beginners.

You have a mission to accomplish, and making money takes precedence over saving pennies.

The trading platform, ease of use, simplicity with advanced options, fast data feed and fast execution, are all top priorities. What comes with this package will be dependent on what you need and are trying to accomplish, but icing on the cake and not the meat of the issue.

Are you a long-term, end-of-day investor or are you a day trader? Will you make five trades a year or five trades a day? “Good” is a relative term that doesn’t apply until you answer the “first” questions. Are you looking for a good screener, research, and trading ideas, or do you generate those on your own?

There are many comparison charts for online brokers, plus look in Barron’s or other papers: (simulator, and finance terms and definitions)…

You can also type in the Search Y! Answers box at the top of this screen for “how to invest,” and get lots of answers.

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