Log Entries

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Vampires

By Francie Train (Partially excerpted from her book “In Those Days”)
When I was about 10, I was a precocious and voracious reader and, urged on by my devilish older brother, George, I devoured, if that is the appropriate word, the entire book. Now, more than 70 years later, many scary details… are still vivid in my memory… I will have to read the book again, first collecting some talismans in case “John Train” tries any funny business.

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Letter to a Grandson

Dear Henry, At your christening the other day, I told a story that I asked your godparents to repeat to you at the right time. A Miss Gresham of Richmond Virginia, who was a friend of the family, once described for me the christening of her father, in about 1870. During the ceremony, General Robert […]

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The Great War Loan Conversion

Flooding the market with cash has not yet led to inflation, because the recession created a Grand Canyon of underutilized capacity to be filled first. When it is, though, expect inflation, and lower prices for long-term bonds. For a parallel situation, consider The Great War Loan Conversion, described in my Famous Financial Fiascos, where bond investors lost 99% of their money.

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Flamenco

Duende is the effect that flamenco, the national dance of Spain, seeks to achieve – a particular emotional impact. Suddenly in the room there’s a collective rapture.

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Up Mount Nemrut

In October I ascended Turkey’s Mt Nemrut, partly by vehicle and partly by mule, to reach a huge conical tumulus of stones protecting the tomb of King Antiochus I, descendant of Darius and Alexander the Great who awarded himself the title of “Theos,” “God,” and thus felt entitled to a glorious resting-place.

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The Executor’s Job

An individual should hesitate before accepting a position as sole executor of an estate. This advice is as sound today as it was in 1983, when this list of an estate executor’s tasks appeared in Preserving Capital and Making it Grow.

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The Debt Limit Agreement And Why It’s Important

The failure of the “super committee” to agree on debt reduction, like the summer kerfuffle over raising the debt limit, is by no means just the result of perverse factionalism by two stubborn sets of politicians. It is a necessary test of the fundamental direction of the Republic. We are deciding what kind of government we want.

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The Gaucho

Today’s Argentinian cowhands are called gauchos, but that is a somewhat misleading term. The real gauchos dwelt on the pampas in Argentina in past centuries and while gentle and courteous may have been the wildest and freest men who ever existed.

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At Sea on an Aegis Destroyer

The attack, when it came, developed fast. The left hand radar screen was displaying the coast of China; the right one, our own ship offshore, near Taiwan. Suddenly a streak rose from the launch area on the left, inland from the coast, that our radar was focused on.

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What Went Wrong?

I doubt if the way out of the present imbroglio lies in programs, regulations, or bailouts. It is simpler and deeper than that. It is not an event; it is a syndrome. We have forgotten prudence.

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Excursion to the Source of the Blue Nile

Ethiopia, where my wife and daughter and I travelled recently, is a very curious corner of the world indeed. Twice the size of France and with about the same population, it sits just above the equator in east Africa. Directly across the Red Sea lies Yemen and then, to the north, Saudi Arabia.

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On Leadership

The qualities of a great leader, with reference to Wellington, Machiavelli, Lord Wu, Marshal Lyotey, Socrates, and others. From an address given at the Army War College.

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