Category Archives: Commentary

August 1, 2015

Dear friends, Welcome to the dog days. “Dog days” didn’t originally have anything to do with dogs, of course. It derived from the ancient belief shared by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans that summer weather was controlled by Sirius, the Dog Star. Why? Because Sirius rises just at dawn in the hottest, most sultry months of […]

July 1, 2015

Dear friends, We really hope you enjoy the extra start-of-summer profundity that we’ve larded (excuse the expression) into this issue. We took advantage of the extra time afforded by the June 30th leap second and the extra light generated that night by the once-in-two-millennia conjunction of Venus and Jupiter to squeeze in a family-sized portion […]

June 1, 2015

Dear friends, They’re gone. Five hundred and twenty-six Augie students who we’ve jollied, prodded, chided, praised, despaired of and delighted in for the past four years have been launched on the rest of you. They’re awfully bright-eyed, occasionally in reflection of the light coming from their cell phone screens. You might suspect that they’re not […]

May 1, 2015

Dear friends, It’s May, a sweet and anxious time at college. The End is tantalizingly close; just two weeks remain in the academic year and, for many, in their academic career.  Both the trees on the Quad and summer wardrobes are bursting out. The days remaining and the brain cells remaining shrink to a precious […]

April 1, 2015

Dear friends, What a difference a month makes. When I wrote to you last month, it was 18 degrees below zero. Right now it’s 90 … 100 degrees warmer … and my students have noticed. Not only is there spring finery on display, but attendance at late afternoon classes seems to be just a bit […]

March 1, 2015

Dear friends, As I begin this essay the thermostat registers an attention-grabbing minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit.  When I peer out of the window nearest my (windowless) office, I’m confronted with: All of which are sure and certain signs that it’s what? Yes, Spring Break in the Midwest! Which funds? “Not ours,” saith Fidelity! If you […]

February 1, 2015

Dear friends, Investing by aphorism is a tricky business. “Buy on the sound of cannons, sell on the sound of trumpets.” It’s widely attributed to “Baron Nathan Rothschild (1810).” Of course, he wasn’t a baron in 1810. There’s no evidence he ever said it. 1810 wouldn’t have been a sensible year for the statement even […]

January 1, 2015

Dear friends, Welcome to the New Year! And to an odd question: why is it a New Year?  That is, why January 1?  Most calendrical events correspond to something: cycles of the moon and stars, movement of the seasons, conclusions of wars or deaths of Great Men. But why January 1?  It corresponds with nothing. […]

December 1, 2014

Dear friends, The Christmas of the early American republic – of the half century following the Revolution – would be barely recognizable to us. It was a holiday so minor as to be virtually invisible to the average person. You’ll remember the famous Christmas of 1776 when George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas and […]

November 1, 2014

Dear friends, In a college with more trees than students, autumn is stunning. Around the campus pond and along wooded paths, trees begin to erupt in glorious color. At first the change is slow, more teasing than apparent. But then we always have a glorious reign of color … followed by a glorious rain of […]