Category Archives: Commentary

August 1, 2014

Dear friends, We’ve always enjoyed and benefited from your reactions to the Observer. Your notes are read carefully, passed around and they often shape our work in the succeeding months. The most common reaction to our July issue was captured by one reader who shared this observation: Dear David: I really love your writing. I […]

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July 1, 2014

Dear friends, Welcome to the midway point of … well, nothing in particular, really. Certainly six months have passed in 2014 and six remain, but why would you care?  Unless you plan on being transported by aliens or cashing out your portfolio on December 31st, questions like “what’s working this year?” are interesting only to […]

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June 1, 2014

Dear friends, Well, we’ve done it again. Augustana just launched its 154th set of graduates in your direction. Personally, it’s my 29th set of them. I think you’ll enjoy their company, if not always the quality of their prose. They’re good kids and we’ve spent an awful lot of time teaching them to ask questions […]

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May 1, 2014

Dear friends, It’s been that kind of month. Oh so very much that kind of month. In addition to teaching four classes and cheering Will on through 11 baseball games, I’ve spent much of the past six weeks buying a new (smaller, older but immaculate) house and beginning to set up a new household. It […]

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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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