The Breakfast Table

Buy Low, Sell High


Funny you should mention the wedding notices in the Times. After obituaries (which are known to be favorites with readers everywhere), I find these strangely compelling. When I was young I would keep my eyes out for people I’d gone to college with, but in a few years that great wave had passed through the matrimonial python (kinda like all those bar mitzvahs when I was 13) and I moved West, where at some point the LA Times, perhaps in thrall to its famous political correctness, gave up on these. Now that I’m back in the East and wedding notices are again readily available, I find myself reading them anew. I think Jane Austen was onto something here. Marriage is where love and money come together. Who can resist such a subject? As for “first-time brides over the age of 37 whose husbands aren’t total losers,” I hate to say this, Lisa, but among the men I know even the total losers are taken. Heck, look at me!

On the other hand, you expressed fear I might write about index funds or some such. No way! Sure, the New York Times has Japan’s central banker saying his country’s top banks are in deep trouble, but geez, that’s no news to anybody. (And talk about reversals–the same paper reports that Citibank is shooting for a billion customers by 2010!) I wonder, though, if some basic principles of economics should be applied to the problem of mating. Some women I know have found happiness as what might be called value investors in this department, hitching up with, well, not total losers but what might be called turnaround situations. Fixer uppers, in real estate parlance. The financial pages are full of these. The guys over at Long Term Capital, for instance. Does it really matter if a guy is worth $10 million instead of $100 million? As long as he doesn’t go ahead and pull down the entire global financial system with insanely arcane bets on the movement of bond prices, why not take a second look? You mention the deification of Darryl Strawberry. Perfect example! Shane Spencer is the growth stock, sure, but Strawberry’s where value investors will wanna put their money.

As to Ross Perot, whom you spotted over the weekend on TV, he’s another example of the Al Sharpton phenomenon I mentioned. Contrary to Andy Warhol’s comment about 15 minutes of fame, celebrities seem to me more like baseball managers. No matter how screwy or inept, they just keep moving from team to team, somehow never getting drummed out of the game. But remember, it wasn’t Ross who said something depended on “what the meaning of is is,” or who–oh well, you know. Sigh. Modestly attired, I remain.

Yours virtually,