Hold on


Snow near Snowhaven
Grangeville-Salmon Road near Snowhaven Ski & Tubing Area December 13, 2014.

As always, I intend to write not so much about myself, but about events and ideas even strangers may find interesting. I suppose few apart from old friends and family will take any immediate interest in the blog as I’m now imagining it. I wish I could set aside the time to call everyone every week, but such is life.

Lately I’ve been renewing old interests — including blogging — and digging into some new ones.


Before I forget, Merry Christmas!


In light of the annual changing of the guard over at Eddy Elfenbein’s Crossing Wall Street blog, I’ve put together a layman’s look at how the “buy and hold” approach would be doing over more than a year-to-year horizon. Unwinding what the hypothetical buyer would now own requires a separate set of assumptions, but I think my attempt produces a reasonable answer to my question. (Here’s my spreadsheet.)

Observations, in no particular order:

  • Of the 57 stocks buy-listed through 2014, nearly all are worth more than they cost to acquire. It’s possible these particular picks are exceptional on account of Elfenbein’s skill; they’ve climbed by ~77 percent. For comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up ~55 percent and the S&P 500 is up ~50 percent over the same period. Then again, my own (dimwitted) portfolio has gained about 20 percent this year — almost entirely, I’d bet, because of the NASDAQ’s meteoric 93% rise since late 2005.
  • It seems 13 of these stocks more than doubled after being added to the buy list. While I haven’t actually counted how many pay a dividend, it’s probably a strong majority. I could learn something by working out what the quarterly cash flow would be.
  • I’m not sure why, but I expected some of the positions to end up far more concentrated than what I’ve found. I suppose, in context, the FISV position — more than 7 percent of the pile — would be a large concentration indeed.

For those already bored, I promise investing is not the only topic or even the main topic for most of the posts to come.


watch LIST

In future editions, this is the part where I’ll pull together my favorite links of the week, summarize them, and offer up my thoughts. For this first edition, I’ll skip directly to asking whether anyone out there has thoughts to share…

…about the death of Stephen Colbert?

internet comments? I’ve decided against ever hosting a comments section. Email me. (And about that email address: I’m still working on explaining what, exactly, I’m doing here.)

…traveling in the NBA?


mumps in the NHL?

shootouts in the NHL?

shootouts in Grangeville?

shootouts in Coeur d’Alene?

protests in the NFL?

overbearing bears?


movie studios caving to naked threats?

My take:

(Here’s the episode I’m betting the South Park guys will reprise.)

If anyone out there would like to nominate a link for next week’s list, email me.


This week in…Everywhere

This is the part where I’ll write a bit about what I’ve been up to….as above, I’ll try to keep it 100 percent personal and zero percent private….but I intend to give enough detail for friends and family to keep up with my life. Anywho. This first edition of this section could be retitled: this month…in Grangeville.

I’ve been out-of-town three times during the last 10 days, including one hasty excursion to the part of the hill where the snow gets deep and the road gets steep, a couple hundred yards below the cross the Grangeville Lions support. I’ve heard rumors about who (or what!) is responsible for the other light seen up there at night…but until I can get a closer look, I suppose that’s one for Mulder and Scully.

Speaking of the Lions Club, I’m looking at joining. I’ve avoided such affiliations on principle — specifically, as a matter of journalism ethics. I think the guys understand my newspaper job comes with a particular role to play in society, and I don’t expect any conflicts of interest. I work in the toy department, but I’ll handle hard news assignments the way I always do.

A couple of Mondays back, I made it over to Cottonwood for a girls basketball game that turned out a bit less competitive than I hoped. The light at Prairie’s gym is generally pretty good, and the photos turned out OK.

The only cloud in the sky I noticed on the drive home that night was a contrail stuck through the waning moon like a skewer. It struck me that a person of exceptional height could have had a major midnight snack. I wish I had taken a picture…or bypassed the fridge.

It’s a very different pace from the end of November, when I was pulling a round trip to Moscow once or twice every week.

Last weekend I made it up to Snowhaven with high hopes the skies would be clear enough for a helicopter to come in for the local Ski Patrol’s refresher exercises. That didn’t work out, but as the photo up top suggests, the weather did bring some snow to the area. With how warm November had been, one storm is not nearly enough. Given the prevailing temperature and the brown ground visible from town, the morning’s first sentiment was gladness not to mill around in mud. I drove up during pre-dawn hours, but after getting a good look at from the Grangeville-Salmon Road last Saturday afternoon, I think much of the same snow will still be on the hill come February. Still it looks unlikely they’ll be skiing here by Christmas…sadly, that seems like the exception and not the rule since I’ve been here. Brundage is ready, though.

I watched the sun rise closely and intently the other day. Perhaps because of all the high ground to the east or perhaps because of the clouds, the sky seemed grow lighter first in the west, with Cottonwood Butte taking on some brilliant colors as the sun came up. Maybe it always does that, and I’ve just never noticed before.

I love that about dawn: the chance to see something new (or just in a new way) comes every day.

Hold on