Gregory Curtis is the founder and Chairman of Greycourt & Co., Inc., a wealth management firm. He is the author of three investment books, including his most recent, Family Capital. He can be reached at gcurtis@greycourt.com. Please note that this post is intended to provide interested persons with an insight on the capital markets and is not intended to promote any manager or firm, nor does it intend to advertise their performance. All opinions expressed are those of Gregory Curtis and do not necessarily represent the views of Greycourt & Co., Inc., the wealth management firm with which he is associated. The information in this report is not intended to address the needs of any particular investor.

The Hole that Swallowed Eddie

The VA kids and I had returned to the Trombley barn to finish painting it, except that the first coat we’d put on two weeks earlier had completely disappeared, soaking into the old wood as if it’d never been applied. Previously in this series: The Charm OffensiveWhen I reported this catastrophe to Rich, he looked …

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The Charm Offensive

As I’ve mentioned, pretty much everyone in the Northeast Kingdom hated VA. But according to Rich Bolotin, who ran VA, this was no more than a minor misunderstanding – a little re-education would turn these folks around in no time. Previously in this series:MomSpecifically, Rich’s idea was that the kids at VA would perform a …

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Mom

More of my experiences at my summer job at VA, a halfway house for juvenile delinquents in Stilton, Vermont. I forgot to mention that everybody in the Northeast Kingdom hated VA. When I first started, Meg had said to me, “The dopes up here think the girls are going to seduce their sons and the …

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Losing It…

Although Meg Petronius had warned me that working at VA was no walk in the park, I found it pretty much to be a walk in the park. Maybe that was because I was a teenager myself. I was nineteen and not much older than the kids, and most of the things that interested them …

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Meeting Miss Perfect

I’d just come face-to-face with The Most Perfect Girl in the World and I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Oh, sure, The Most Perfect Girl in the World just happened to be hanging out in Stilton, Vermont, population 124.” Previously in this series: Surprise, Surprise…Allow me to explain. You see, every guy has his …

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Surprise, Surprise…

The lady at the artists’ colony had told me, just before slamming the door in my face, that Vermont Academy was the “next house.” I looked up that way but didn’t see a next house. Previously in this series: VAI sighed, climbed back on the Vespa and headed north. Almost immediately the next house came …

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Where is This Place?

I was calling Vermont Academy to set up a summer job interview. In those days the protocol was that you let a phone ring 10 times – if your party hadn’t picked up by then he was either on the can or he didn’t want to talk to you. Previously in this series: VAI’d just …

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VA

It was May, near the end of my freshman year in college, and I was wallowing in the bottom five percent of my class. A lot of people would probably be embarrassed about that, but not me. I’d gone to a lousy high school, had never studied, and didn’t even know how to study. Yet, somehow, almost …

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Recalling the End of a Fascinating Company

Last week I described one of the existential challenges that faced the Butler County Mushroom Farm – intense competition from China and, later, other Asian countries, who shipped massive volumes of low-quality mushrooms into the US. Previously in this series: Bye Bye FungiAs BCMF’s revenues and profits declined, another existential challenge arose – the company’s …

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Bye Bye Fungi

“The first thing we do is, let’s kill all the lawyers.” — Dick the Butcher in Act IV, Scene II of Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part II Following the successful sale of stock in Butler County Mushroom Farm to its employees, the company entered into a long and sad decline. I wasn’t around for that unhappy ride because …

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Stock for the Mushroom Workers

“The way to make money in the stock market is to buy a stock. Then, when it goes up, sell it. If it’s not going to go up, don’t buy it.” — Will Rogers Previously in this series: Meddling with MushroomsMy biggest legal project for Butler County Mushroom Farm was also my last. Mr. Y, the …

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Meddling with Mushrooms

“A meal without mushrooms is like a day without rain.” — John Cage Previously in this series: Basking in the Mushroom Limelight“I learned more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than in the preceding 15 years of studying and doing research.” — Timothy Leary It’s almost impossible to exaggerate what an extraordinary …

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Basking in Mushroom Limelight

“Mushrooms have many helpful nutrients, including beta glucans for immune enhancement, ergothioneines for antioxidative potentiation, nerve growth stimulators for helping brain function, and antimicrobial compounds for limiting viruses.” — Paul Stamets, American mycologist Previously in this series: The Life and Death of Moonlight Mushrooms “Falling in love is like eating mushrooms, you never know if it’s …

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The Life and Death of Moonlight Mushrooms

“All mushrooms are edible, but some are edible only once.” Philip Hanes, mushroom expert quoted in the New York Times I was just out of law school, working for a huge law firm and still trying to figure out what the practice of law was all about. One day I received a call from the secretary of …

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The Perils of Fed Speak

“Our regulators are proving worse than the Bourbons: they have learnt nothing and forgotten everything.” — Martin Sandbu, Financial Times, quoting Talleyrand Previously in this series: Can the Fed be Saved?For nearly three decades the U.S. Fed has followed easy money policies regardless of economic conditions, giving birth to a series of economic crises unlike any the …

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Can the Fed be Saved?

“History will give a full accounting of the grave errors committed [by the US Fed].” Kevin Warsh, former Fed board member “Decennial financial blowups aren’t the stuff of great powers – at least, not for long.” Stanley Druckenmiller Long-term readers of these essays know that I am no fan of the U.S. Fed. In my view …

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The Thrilling Conclusion!

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — Arthur C. Clarke I began this series on generative AI because an irate reader had suggested that my blogs were written by a particularly doltish AI bot. Now that we know a lot more about generative AI we can decide whether my irked reader could even …

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What’s All the Panic About?

“I don’t think there is a single task you can assign a junior analyst, banker, developer, teacher or lawyer that can’t be accomplished more quickly, more smartly and much more cheaply with [generative AI].” Ben Hunt “Every new technology is the Full Employment Act for ethicists and scolds.” Andy Kessler Previously in this Series: Look at What …

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Look at What AI Can Do

“[Generative AI] bids to transform the human cognitive process as it has not been shaken up since the invention of printing.”  Henry Kissinger et al. Previously in this series: Poems and College Essays by Chat GPT, Am I a Bot? Part IV “I don’t think anybody’s job is safe. I am so excited to be …

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Poems and College Essays by Chat GPT

“LLMs [that is, large language model generative AI systems] are essentially ‘conventional wisdom’ machines.” –  Bruno Massarelli Previously in this series: The Bully Effect, Am I a Bot? Part III Why is generative AI – like Chat GPT – such a threat to Google’s internet search revenue? To understand why, let’s engage in a thought …

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Banks – and Reputations – Go Poof

[I’m interrupting my series on generative AI for this bulletin on Silicon Valley Bank.] “How did you go bankrupt? Bill asked. Two ways, Mike said. Gradually and then suddenly.” — Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises Is it just me or was there anything about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank that wasn’t annoying in the extreme? Let’s take a …

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The Bully Effect

“I love you.” Bing/ChatGPT to tech reporter It’s almost impossible to overestimate the stakes for generative AI systems like ChatGPT. Google has long dominated Internet search, holding more than a 90% market share. Microsoft’s Bing, meanwhile, has been a pathetic also-ran, holding down market shares in the single digits and being not only largely ignored but …

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