One of the small mysteries of my life is how my articles come into being. Sometimes I’m asked a question that seems like it might be of wider interest. Sometimes I read a book which I think others might find interesting. Sometimes a title forms itself in my mind and the article just follows.
As I write this in mid-April, Spring’s arrival seems to be on indefinite hold. So, with apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson who wrote that this might be a good time to think of love, my current thoughts are on something a bit less romantic: taxes.
Since my beard has long been completely white there’s not much I can do to disguise my age. That being the case, there’s probably little further embarrassment in letting you know that I watched both Andy Rooney and Gilda Radner’s character “Emily Litella” on live television. What did these two have in common?
Sam Cooke spoke for many high school students of the 1960's when he sang the words of today's title as part of his hit song Wonderful World. In college, however, we learned about philosopher George Santayana and his much earlier book Reason in Common Sense. In it, he wrote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".
I’m turning to the Bard for the title of 2014’s first message because there are articles everywhere right now offering forecasts for the upcoming year. I never try that myself because I know I can’t predict the future. Instead, I thought I’d reflect a bit on the past to see what lessons we might learn.
The best way to legally hasten someone’s death is to arrange for the services of a personal physician.
The 1976 movie “Network” featured Peter Finch in the role of Howard Beale, a TV news anchor whose show is beset by declining viewership. Howard eventually comes back to win the ratings contest by, among other things, encouraging his listeners to stick their heads out their windows and shout: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Better known in English as Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace is widely considered to have been one of the world’s greatest writers but his potential aptitude for financial planning may be somewhat less well known.
There aren’t many quiz shows left on TV but among history’s most famous was The $64,000 Question. It was broadcast on CBS from 1955 to 1958, based on an earlier radio version with a top prize of just $64. It was a huge ratings success until the scandal involving the competing quiz show Twenty-One and its winner Charles Van Doren made the news.
I don’t watch very much TV but I happened upon CNBC’s mid-day market coverage one day last week. This will not be news to regular viewers but I was nearly overwhelmed by the amount of information being offered. In addition to a series of stories in the main window, there were four sets of market quotations crawling across the screen, two at the top and two at the bottom.