Author: Lloyd Graff

My wife, Risa, is an educational therapist who teaches kids with learning problems in our house.  She probably has close to a thousand books in her library. One of her favorites is a short masterpiece by Laura Numeroff, If You Give a Dog a Donut.  It has never been more apt than now as we see college campuses filled with tents with kids and agitators from off-campus proclaiming their anti-Semitism and carrying signs proclaiming Israel’s apartheid. The response by administrators and faculty has been almost universally appeasement. “If you give a dog a donut he’ll ask for apple juice to…

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Can you predict how your mood will be tomorrow?  How about your business next week?  Life is constantly surprising us, yet we are forced to make judgments based on flawed data and bouncing emotions. I sold the building that my father built for our used machine tool firm in the mid-1980s. The decision was based on sluggish business and having had heart bypass surgery 10 years earlier. I took a five-year lease on half of the building figuring that if I was still alive in 2024, I would be in no mood to continue to fight used machinery battles. Now…

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It’s been a miserable month for electric cars. Tesla fired everybody in its charger department, Ford told us that it is losing $100,000 on every electric vehicle it sells, and Donald Trump announced he will stop the construction of new wind generators off the East Coast because he wants to save the whales. If you bought Tesla stock at $600 a share it appears you have a long wait to get even. Hybrids are selling like hotcakes, but Elon’s Cybertruck can’t catch cold. Ford’s F-150 electric is nice for Los Angeles and San Diego but not Duluth.  President Biden told…

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My youngest granddaughter is flying to Israel as I write this blog. Am I worried? Of course, but she has been hoping for months she could go with eight friends from her eighth-grade class in California. Our family is part of the golden age of modern Jewry. These days, my wife Risa and I wake up at night wondering if it is ending. Today is also Holocaust Remembrance Day. If you have not walked through a concentration camp and read the stories, you do not feel the chill you get when you see the photos of the emaciated survivors in…

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I laid in bed moping about how crummy business has been in April. Then I saw my beautiful wife of almost 54 years snoring slightly next to me and thought, “You fool. You are incredibly blessed. Start thinking about all of your gifts.” And so I did, and I had my topic for the day. I was born in America at the end of World War II. My dad operated a machine shop with rows of Davenports and Acme machines. He was not marching in Europe or slogging through the Philippines. If my grandparents and great-grandparents had not taken steerage…

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The NCAA Basketball Tournament, the less popular Men’s part, crowned the University of Connecticut as Champion for the second straight year. UConn didn’t just beat their six opponents in the marathon event, they crushed them. They averaged a 23-point margin in their victories. The final 75-60 win over Purdue was almost a moral victory for the Boilermakers. The UConn Huskies’ coach, Dan Hurley, is part of a fabulous basketball family. His dad, Bob Hurley, was the master of high school basketball in New Jersey. He coached the now-closed St, Anthony High School of Jersey City, which ceased operation in 2017.…

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Danny Kahneman died a week ago at the age of 90. He won a Nobel Prize for Economics but always saw himself as a psychologist. Jason Zweig, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wrote a brilliant obituary for Kahneman. He knew him well after writing two books with him and part of a third before he gave up because the aggravation was killing him.  Nevertheless, the obituary was fascinating and complimentary. It taught me a lot about the man and his groundbreaking ideas.  Kahneman was born in Tel Aviv in 1934 before it was Israel. His mother was on a…

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“Take me out to the ball game…. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack. I don’t care if I ever come back!” Opening Day. It’s tomorrow.  Yet I’m nauseous. And, it isn’t from peanuts and Cracker Jack–it’s betting. It has infused the game.  The number one story on ESPN.com today isn’t about Opening Day, or March Madness. It’s about the Babe Ruth of today’s game, Shohei Ohtani, who allegedly paid off the gambling debts of his close friend and interpreter to the tune of $4.5 million.  There is constant discussion about odds on radio sports shows (whose biggest sponsors are betting…

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I was in my early 40s, my son Noah’s age. when we built the 20,000-square-foot home of our machine tool business, over 30 years ago. Now change is being forced upon us as we prepare to move within the next six months.  Moving ain’t easy.  As a machinery trading business we live off of change. Companies buy and sell capital equipment to accommodate change. New orders, cancellations, bankruptcies, and change of owners all force buying and selling, which means opportunity for us.  Now, with our lease of half the building expiring five years after I sold it means a jarring…

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We underestimate the value of our printed photographs these days.  My wife, Risa, and I have lived in the same house for almost 46 years. Recently, we had our home painted. We have photos strewn all over the house. Most are now on the floor as we decide whether to put them back where they have been for years or tuck them into albums. I glance often at the readily visible ones, but the effort to hang them seems daunting.  When our children and grandkids come to the house, I notice them searching for the missing photos. They are riveted…

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