Category Archives: Commentary

April 1, 2014

Dear friends, I love language, in both its ability to clarify and to mystify. Take the phrase “think outside the box.”  You’ve heard it more times than you’d care to count but have you ever stopped to wonder: what box are they talking about?  Maybe someone invented it for good reason, so perhaps you should […]

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March 1, 2014

Dear friends, It’s not a question of whether it’s coming.  It’s just a question of whether you’ve been preparing intelligently. There’s an old joke about the farmer with the leaky roof that never gets fixed.  When the sun’s out, he never thinks about the leak and when it’s raining, he can’t get up there to […]

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February 1, 2014

Dear friends, Given the intensity of the headlines, you’d think that Black Monday had revisited us weekly or, perhaps, that Smaug had settled his scaly bulk firmly atop our portfolios.  But no, the market wandered down a few percent for the month.  I have the same reaction to the near-hysterical headlines about the emerging markets […]

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January 1, 2014

Dear friends, Welcome to the New Year.  At least as we calculate it.  The Year of the Horse begins January 31, a date the Vietnamese share.  The Iranians, like the ancient Romans, sensibly celebrate the New Year at the beginning of spring.  A bunch of cultures in South Asia pick mid-April. Rosh Hashanah (“head of […]

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December 1, 2013

Dear friends, Welcome.  Do you think it a coincidence that the holiday season occurs at the least promising time of the year?  The days are getting shorter and, for our none-too-distant ancestors, winter represented a period of virtual house arrest.  Night was a time of brigands and beasts.  Even in the largest cities, respectable folks […]

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November 1, 2013

Dear friends, Occasionally Facebook produces finds that I’m at a loss to explain.  Ecce: (Thanks to Nina K., a really first-rate writer and first-rate property/insurance lawyer in the Bay State for sharing Mr. Takei’s post with us. Now if I could just get her to restrain the impulse to blurt out, incredulous, “you really find […]

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October 1, 2013

Welcome to October, the time of pumpkins. October’s a month of surprises, from the first morning that you see frost on the grass to the appearance of ghosts and ghouls at month’s end.  It’s a month famous of market crashes – 1929, 1987, 2008 – and for being the least hospitable to stocks. And now […]

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September 1, 2013

Dear friends, My colleagues in the English department are forever yammering on about this Shakespeare guy.I’m skeptical. First, he didn’t even know how to spell his own name (“Wm Shakspē”? Really?). Second, he clearly didn’t understand seasonality of the markets. If you listen to Gloucester’s famous declamation in Richard III, you’ll see what I mean: […]

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August 1, 2013

Dear friends, Welcome to the Vacation 2013 issue of the Observer. I’ve spent the past two weeks of July and the first days of August enjoying myself in Door County, the Cape Cod-like peninsula above Green Bay. I’ve done substantial damage to two Four Berry pies from Bea’s Ho-made Pies (jokes about the makers of the pie have been […]

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July 1, 2013

Dear friends, Welcome to summer, a time of year when heat records are rather more common than market records.   What’s in your long/short fund? Everybody’s talking about long/short funds.  Google chronicles 273,000 pages that use the phrase.  Bloomberg promises “a comprehensive list of long/short funds worldwide.”  Morningstar, Lipper and U.S. News plunk nearly a hundred […]

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