The World Now and Then

Last weekend I wrote about my desire to learn to slalom water ski and today I am happy to report that my attempt was successful. Last Sunday morning I woke up early and set out on Lake Winnipesaukee to water ski with only one ski, and by the time I came back to the dock, I had done it.

The morning was incredibly beautiful, with few other boats on the lake, so the intimidation factor was low. As I sat on the back of our boat putting on the ski, I just kept thinking “Balance, balance, balance.” Before I knew it, I was up one my one ski, riding behind the boat.

It was a great run and I was exhilarated to have gotten up on the first try. I also want to thank one reader who wrote a letter to me explaining one way to learn to slalom water ski. I’ll re-print it here for those out there who are attempting the sport themselves:

“Try sitting on the edge of the dock and putting the heel of your skis nearly straight down and the tips nearly straight up out of the water.  Hold the rope handle in one hand and about 3 ft. of slack of the rope in the other.  When the rope is taught and there is only the slack left have the boat driver gun it and you will hop onto the water — when you are on top of the water, drop the 2nd ski and away you go!-J.P.”

Thanks J.P.!

History Comes Back Around

After my triumphant water skiing expedition, I went to a store in my little New Hampshire town that I have never visited before. This is an accomplishment in itself, as the town has only one main road, and I have visited most of the shops many times.

There was a big sign outside the store that said “Good Old Books-50% Off Closing Sale.” I’m always reading something, and I’m on an endless search for more books, especially old ones.

This store, which was actually a barn at someone’s house, was filled with a lot more than just old books, although they had an incredible amount of those as well. There was furniture ($15 for a bed frame), some plants ($2 each) and even some great political memorabilia from the 1960s and 1970s (an $8 poster of former President Lyndon Johnson among them). I love politics, almost as much as I love books, and I was happy to find some very cool artifacts in the barn.

The best piece, which I purchased, was a Boston Globe from 34 years ago today, August 9, 1974, announcing then-President Richard Nixon’s resignation. I’ve written before in this space about my past as a newspaper editor, so this was quite a find.

When I got home and looked through the special section detailing all aspects of the day (including a previously very pro-Nixon New Hampshire town hiding its ties to the man and a detailed profile of Betty Ford where she advocates having a hobby), I stumbled upon the political cartoons. And while they were conceived more than 30 years ago, they could have been imagined yesterday.

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Political Cartoons Fit for Today

One of the cartoons is of a drawing of a man, his wife and child sitting at the kitchen table, with the man holding a piece of paper that reads, “Gas Lines, Living Costs Up, Unemployment, Economic Slump, Taxes, Government Scandals.” On the wall there is a piece of paper that says, “No Recession, No Gas or Energy Crisis–Only Problems.” And its signed “You Know Who.”

The caption is the man saying to his wife, “I think I’ll write a book about my six problems.”

The next cartoon is a car that has, “Fuel Crisis of Early 1974,” on its back and is running over a man whose jacket says, “Pollution Control Measures,” and another whose jacket says, “Consumer.” It is titled “Hit and Run.”

The last cartoon is of a person checking out at the grocery store and buying expensive groceries. There is a little bottle by the cash register that says, “Smelling Salts, Emergency Use Only.”

After reading them I flipped back to the front page and confirmed that this was in fact the yellowed newspaper I just had purchased dating from August 9, 1974, and not our local newspaper, which carried similar news last weekend.

How Far We Have (or Haven’t) Come

Digging further into the paper, I found more stories that could pass for today.  One detailed a new program in some New England states to help low-income families grow their own fruits and vegetables to save money on groceries. I’ve read about similar programs happening right now around the country, especially in remote areas where food is already expensive.

There are stories in the August 9, 1974, paper about soaring wholesale prices and trouble in the Middle East. Bizzare.

All of this got me thinking about the state of the world and how far we have (or haven’t) come in exactly 34 years. We are experiencing the same, or similar, problems as we were then–from expensive food and fuel to government scandals and high unemployment. Does this mean we have come nowhere in the last three decades or have we come so far that we’ve gone back again, repeating the same cycle over and over?

I think we can all agree that in some ways the world has changed drastically since 1974. We are about to have the first black nominee for president, the opening ceremony of the Olympics was held in China, and happily we’ve moved past disco. But many things are still the same; we have an unpopular war, living costs are up and we are still facing questions about environmental issues.

What changes do you see in the world now different from the world in August 9, 1974? What changes would you like to see in the next 34 years? Write to us via email and you might see your response published here in the future. Or continue the discussion on our blog, The Iconoclast Investor.

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In case you didn’t get a chance to read all the issues of Cabot Wealth Advisory this week and want to catch up on any investing and stock tips you might have missed, we have links below to each issue.

Cabot Wealth Advisory 8/4/08 – I.O.U.S.A.

On Monday, Timothy Lutts wrote about the newest additions to the Cabot family of newsletters, Dick Davis Digest and Income Digest. Tim also wrote about the growing national debt and various ways he believes we might be able to get ourselves out of it. A new movie, I.O.U.S.A., addresses the issue of our national debt and is debuting later this month. Stock featured in this issue: Werner Enterprises (NSDQ: WERN).

Cabot Wealth Advisory 8/7/08 – Consider Taxes Before Investing

On Thursday, Michael Cintolo wrote about why considering taxes before investing is a good idea. It helps you have a better handle on your portfolio and allows you to invest the proper amount in each stock. Mike talked about a stock that was high profile before the Tech Bubble burst nearly a decade ago, but that has been moving to higher ground lately. Stock featured in this issue: Ariba (NSDQ: ARBA).

Cabot Wealth Advisory 8/8/08 – Investing in What You Know

On Friday, Brendan Coffey wrote about Peter Lynch’s theory of investing in companies that you are familiar with. Lynch invested in Taco Bell after discovering his love for its food and in Hanes after his wife raved about its L’eggs hosiery. Brendan discussed a well-known Green company that he frequents, Whole Foods, and why it’s sliding stock and poor management make it a poor investment. Stock featured in this issue: Whole Foods (NSDQ: WFMI)

Editor’s Note: Are you new to investing and unsure of where to start? Cabot Stock of the Month offers a taste of all of our different investing styles; each issue features a Green, momentum, growth, value or emerging markets stock. The stocks are chosen from across the spectrum of Cabot’s newsletters, giving you the very best stock for current market conditions each and every month. Click the link below to find out which investing style is right for you.

Until Next Time,

Elyse Andrews
Editor of Cabot Wealth Advisory


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