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Hug Your kids
In August we are raising money for Tikva Children Home (Odessa), a charity that helps Jewish Ukrainian orphans and war refugees in the wonderful city that has recently been bombed by Russia. So far with your help we have raised $9500.
If you donate at least $40 to Tikva Children Home, we will mail you a signed copy of The Little Book of Sideways Markets. If you donate $100 or more, we will mail you both The Little Book of Sideways Markets and Soul in the Game (signed!). Please email a proof of donation and your mailing address (US addresses only) to Barbara firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article available in Spanish here.
You can listen to a professional narration of this article below:
I am back from California. I really enjoyed my Q&A presentation to the CFA Society of Orange County. It was an extra-humbling experience, because one of the attendees drove eight hundred miles to see me speak! Since the whole presentation was in Q&A format, we had the opportunity to explore a lot of diverse topics. I selfishly enjoy doing Q&A, because every single time I learn something new from the good questions thrown at me.
After the presentation I caught an Uber to join by family in Laguna Beach, where we spent a long weekend. This was our second trip to Laguna Beach in four months. It has turned into our favorite place to decompress and do absolutely nothing – we walk on the beach and read. The ocean is barely swimmable unless you’re a surfer, but that doesn’t bother us at all.
My daughter Hannah and I like to wake up at 6:30, walk through the streets of the still-awakening town, and find a coffee shop. I get a coffee and she gets a drink loaded with sugar. (That’s a rare treat for her – she gets those only on vacations). Then we walk along the beach, talk, sit, and read. My wife and our four-year-old daughter, Mia Sarah, meet us for breakfast, and then we just spend the rest of the day at the beach and the evening by the swimming pool – Mia Sarah’s favorite activity. We go to dinner early and we’re in bed by eight.
I know if I added a game of bingo to this picture I’d be describing Florida retirement. If I did this every day I’d be restless, but I could see me travelling to Laguna Beach for a weekend. Leave early in the morning on Friday and come back on Sunday evening. The flight is less than two hours from Denver. The Orange County airport is small and convenient, and it’s named after John Wayne – hard to beat that! I wouldn’t even rent a car, just hail Uber. A great place to decompress every few months.
On Monday afternoon, a few hours before our flight, my wife, Mia Sarah, and I were sitting by the swimming pool at the hotel. All the other guests were gone; it was just three of us. (Hannah had gone to our room to get something. I was engrossed in my book, with AirPods on. My wife was putting sunblock on Mia Sarah. Then I hear a scream: “Mia!” I look up and see my wife running to the swimming pool and pulling Mia Sarah out. Mia Sarah is shaken; she’s crying.
Here’s how it happened.
Mia Sarah doesn’t know how to swim. She swims with a floating vest. After my wife put sunblock on Mia Sarah, she received a text on her phone. As she looked down at her phone, Mia got excited about swimming, charged to the pool 20 feet away, hopped in (forgetting that she didn’t have a vest on), and promptly sank. My heart shrinks just writing this. It’s unimaginable what could have happened. Mia Sarah was underwater for only a few seconds, thank God. But what if my wife had looked for Mia Sarah thirty seconds later? We are taking Mia Sarah for swimming lessons next week. There are lots of obvious lessons packed in this little episode – I’ve been hugging my kids a lot more the past few days.
Here are some of my latest videos on Youtube:
I have known about Van Cliburn was since I was very little. He was about the only American that (Soviet) Russians did not hate but admired (maybe the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is Louis Armstrong). Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition. It was 1958. The Soviets had just kicked American … sorry … by putting Sputnik into space. To celebrate and demonstrate their cultural superiority, the Soviets started the International Tchaikovsky Competition – a Russian version of the Olympics Games, but for the performance of classical music.
A young American from Louisiana, Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn performed parts from Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. He was an American, in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, performing incredibly difficult concertos by two Russian composers; and he did it so well that the Russians in the audience stood and applauded him for eight minutes! Remember, those were the Russians that were brainwashed to hate “evil, imperialistic” Americans (my grandparents, my parents, and even I, for part of my life, belonged to that group of brainwashed people).
Political tensions were so high at the time that before the judges could award Van Cliburn the gold medal, they had to check with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. “Is he the best?” Khrushchev is said to have asked; “then give him the prize!” There is something very pure and uplifting about this story – how the power of music trumps hate. Hollywood should should get going on a movie.
Sadly, Van Cliburn passed away on February 27th 2013 (read his obit in the Wash Post). Just last month my kids and I were listening to Van Cliburn playing Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 in the car, and I was telling them his story. Today I want to share with you Van Cliburn performing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, in 1958.
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Vitaliy Katsenelson is the CEO at IMA, a value investing firm in Denver. He has written two books on investing, which were published by John Wiley & Sons and have been translated into eight languages. Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life (Harriman House, 2022) is his first non-investing book. You can get unpublished bonus chapters by forwarding your purchase receipt to email@example.com.