“Yesterday, you ran a one-word comment. Usually you go on way too long, but now this? One word?”
When this column was first conceived, Ceres simply said it wanted a “daily comment.” Any specific length? I asked. No, as long or as short as you want. Every day? I asked. Well, every day the market’s open. About investing? I asked. About anything you want.
I really had no idea how this would turn out. “The market was generally strong today, with tornado watches in effect for several Internet stocks, and scattered showers over packaged goods.”
A daily comment? Like, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”? Do you know how long it took Shakespeare to write that? (And of course he was referring to personal loans only, I realized after about twenty years — it’s fine to lend to Uncle Sam by buying Treasury bonds, or borrow against your life insurance policy to help fund tuition.)
I had no idea what to expect (or how much fun it would be, thanks to your feedback). I thought maybe I’d signed on, when you called a spade a spade, to write fortune cookies. “You will be getting small dividend soon. Go on happy journey.”
And it is this topic — fortune cookies — I would like briefly to address.
You eat Chinese from time to time, yes? Well, Confucius say: “When fortune cookie come, and people begin read out loud, require everyone append phrase “between the sheets.” Wok every time.
My apologies to those of you who have been using this technique for years. I dazzled one of the founders of modern finance and his wife with this after a fine Chinese dinner one night not long ago, and he said, “Oh, yes. We used to do that during the war.”
Tomorrow: Advice to a D.I.N.K.
Quote of the Day
Guys, just remember: if you get real lucky, if you make a lot of money, if you go out and buy a lot of stuff, it's gonna break. You got your biggest, fanciest mansion in the world. It has air conditioning. It has a pool. Just think of all the pumps that are going to go out. Or go to a yacht basin any place in the world. Nobody is smiling and I'll tell you why: something broke that morning. The generator's out, the microwave oven doesn't work, the cook's gay. Things just don't mean happiness.~Ross Perot to Harvard B-School students, quoted in Forbes
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